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Qatar Fans 10
Doha, Qatar
By Ulrik Pedersen
26 Oct 2013

Asian fans are cheering in a different way than locals and Africans. Al Gharafa against Lekhwiya in Qatar Stars League. The game ended 1-2.

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Qatar Fans 17
Doha, Qatar
By Ulrik Pedersen
26 Oct 2013

Even a bagpipe has been imported to improve the atmosphere. Umm Salal agianst Al Rayyan in Qatar Stars League. The game ended 3-3.

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Qatar Fans 15
Doha, Qatar
By Ulrik Pedersen
26 Oct 2013

Fans watching the game closely, following each move of the players. Umm Salal agianst Al Rayyan in Qatar Stars League. The game ended 3-3.

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Qatar Fans 13
Doha, Qatar
By Ulrik Pedersen
25 Oct 2013

A fan coordinator trying to control the crowd. Some fan coordinators move around from club to club assisting the fans and club to create the best atmosphere. Umm Salal agianst Al Rayyan in Qatar Stars League. The game ended 3-3.

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Qatar Fans 12
Doha, Qatar
By Ulrik Pedersen
25 Oct 2013

The fans wholeheartedly shout and clap after a goal. Umm Salal agianst Al Rayyan in Qatar Stars League. The game ended 3-3.

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Qatar Fans 21
Doha, Qatar
By Ulrik Pedersen
24 Oct 2013

Fans are following the action on the field closely. Umm Salal agianst Al Rayyan in Qatar Stars League. The game ended 3-3. .

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Qatar Fans 20
Doha, Qatar
By Ulrik Pedersen
24 Oct 2013

With the hard work of fan coordinators more and more peple are participating in directing and coordinating the fans. Umm Salal against Al Rayyan in Qatar Stars League. The game ended 3-3.

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Qatar Fans 9
Doha, Qatar
By Ulrik Pedersen
24 Oct 2013

Local fans entering the stadium before Al Wakrah against Al Sadd in Qatar Stars League.

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Qatar Fans 14
Doha, Qatar
By Ulrik Pedersen
24 Oct 2013

Nigerian fan of Al Wakrah cheearing during Al Wakrah against Al Sadd in Qatar Stars League.

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Qatar Fans 24
Doha, Qatar
By Ulrik Pedersen
23 Oct 2013

Both groups of fans are located on the long side of the station leaving both ends empty. Muaither against El Jaish in Qatar Stars League.The game ended 2-4.

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Qatar Fans 22
Doha, Qatar
By Ulrik Pedersen
23 Oct 2013

Fans are singing and playing music with passion during the game. Muaither against El Jaish. The game ended 2-4.

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Qatar Fans 19
Doha, Qatar
By Ulrik Pedersen
23 Oct 2013

Fan is trying to encourage other local fans to clap and make as much noise as possible. Umm Salal agianst Al Rayyan in Qatar Stars League. The game ended 3-3.

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Qatar Fans
Doha, Qatar
By Transterra Editor
23 Oct 2013

While the world is busy discussing if World Cup 2022 should be taken away from Qatar or
moved to the winter, people in Qatar are busy playing football. Fans are attending games in
during the Qatar stars league, children are training in clubs and grown ups are playing in amateur leagues. With the time of 8.5 or 8 years to wait depending on the decision by FIFA, there is enough time to improve the football culture in Qatar and remove all the negative expectations about 2022.

Qatar is a country of only 2,042,444 people (July 2013 est.) which includes only 15% Qataris. The rest is expats mainly from other Arabic countries, Philippines and Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Pakistan. With the future of Qatar, a future of expansion (4.19% growth rate), and thereby more foreigners, Qatar will be an even more multicultural country.

Football culture was introduced to Qatar in the 1940s and 1950s by oil workers from Europe. The Qatar Stars League (QSL) is the highest professional league in Qatari football with its first season played in 1963 and now in 2013, featuring 14 clubs with one club demoted to second.

From the beginning of the establishment of the league, it had problems attracting spectators even with high profile players like Raul, Pep Guardiola and Gabriel Batistuta. With only around 300.000 Qataris, expatriates must be brought in to increase the numbers. The official attendance is over 5000 in average but that is impossible with such a small population. Slovenia, a country with
similar population as Qatar (but almost all are Slovenians compared to Qatar) had an average of 530 spectators in the 2012/13 season.

The attendance in Qatar is probably similar (if not a bit lower) but a lot more loud; as singing through a megaphone and playing the drums throughout the game are common.

Qatar Football Assocation (QFA) and Qatar Stars League (QSL) have started a number
of initiatives to improve the attendance: relations with schools and embassies, various
communities, a fan club where you get points for watching a game and is offering price bonuses at some of the games. The initiatives have attracted more spectators but getting people to the stadium is a change of culture in a country where football is mostly watched at home, in front of the TV.

There are mainly 3 groups of fans with their own characteristics. Sometimes, depending on the club, are all present at games. Local fans are mostly fans paid to attend the games. There are fan coordinators who coordinate the cheering, singing and clapping and who circulate among the different clubs.

A band is playing local songs on drums and one or 2 fans is singing through out the whole game. Saadi Ahmed Al-Essa, a local who had paid for his ticket, at Al Sadd against Qatar SC, is going with his 2 children when there is a bigger game but he prefers to see the game in person.

The Asians represent the largest group of fans at most games. Khalil Khandoker is a Bangladeshi citizen, working in Qatar for a construction company. He is a the stadium for the game with some of his friends. Watching football is one of the cheapest activities possible for him in Doha ( a ticket is around 3 dollars) but mostly they do get free tickets.
The atmosphere is good he think with the dancing from the Africans and the music from
the locals. Asians are more quiet than the other groups but still clap and cheer during the game.

African spectators are coming to watch the games of the clubs with African players and if they live around one of the stadiums. African spectators are like they are at home: dancing and cheering in the most wonderful way. It seems they came to the stadium for the party and not the game.

With African spectators, Asians and locals on a stadium the atmosphere is energetic and loud: music, clapping, singing and dancing. Nnakeme Adeyemi, a Nigerian fan, at Al Wakrah against Al Sadd, is mostly at the stadium because of his friends and not the
football. But the atmosphere is good and he will surely return.

Compared to countries of similar size the Qatar Stars League has an attendance which is reasonable, and as anybody who has attended a game includes more singing and drumming from the spectators than similar crowds across the world.

Qatar Stars League will never be like Premier League in England but with the interest of Qataris, expats and initiates will be an attractive experience before 2022 World Cup.

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Qatar Fans 23
Doha, Qatar
By Ulrik Pedersen
22 Oct 2013

The fans are celebrating after their team, El Jaish, has secured the victory. Muaither against El Jaish in Qatar Stars League.The game ended 2-4.

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Qatar Fans 18
Doha, Qatar
By Ulrik Pedersen
22 Oct 2013

Asian fans cheering after Al Gharafa scores a goal. Al Gharafa against Lekhwiya in Qatar Stars League. The game ended 1-2.

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Lake Malawi (6 of 19)
Lake Malawi, Africa
By Luis Miguel Rodrigues
05 Aug 2013

Children playing football on the fine sands of the lake in Senga Bay

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For Clan and Country (1 of 12)
Hargeisa, Somaliland
By mcseaniew
19 Jul 2013

Fans arrive at Hargeisa Stadium ahead of the Somaliland Regional (aka Clan) Cup Final.

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For Clan and Country (4 of 12)
Hargeisa, Somaliland
By mcseaniew
18 Jul 2013

Players of Hawd pose for the camera ahead of kick-off. In a repeat of last year's final, they play fierce local rivals Maroodi-Jeh for the highest prize in Somaliland sport.

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For Clan and Country (7 of 12)
Hargeisa, Somaliland
By mcseaniew
18 Jul 2013

The referee keeps a close eye on the fierce challenges that fly in from all directions. After 90 minutes of hot, tireless action the game is deadlocked at nil-nil.

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For Clan and Country (8 of 12)
Hargeisa, Somaliland
By mcseaniew
18 Jul 2013

Hawd's sixth penalty flies wide of the post, handing Maroodi-Jeh a second-consecutive victory. Last year Hawd were also beaten finallists.

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For Clan and Country (6 of 12)
Hargeisa, Somaliland
By mcseaniew
18 Jul 2013

Maroodi-Jeh's jubilant players race to the touchlines in victory, as Hawd's beaten penalty-taker lays in anguish.

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For Clan and Country (12 of 12)
Hargeisa, Somaliland
By mcseaniew
18 Jul 2013

The trophy is held aloft as the sun sets over Hargeisa. "This game is huge for Somaliland," says minister of sport Abdi Saeed Raigal as a handful of stones clatter the stadium's corrugated roof. "Every year we will get better and better."

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For Clan and Country
Hargeisa, Somalia
By Serene Yordi
18 Jul 2013

Somaliland is the breakaway Somali state seeking independence after decades of bloody civil war and terror. Its capital city Hargeisa is booming, and expats are returning to start businesses after years in exodus.

But Somaliland is still deeply riven across clan lines, that often spill into violence which threaten its image as the peaceful antithesis of terror-torn Mogadishu, from whom the state clamours for independence.

Football may be the answer. And this year's year's 'Regional', aka 'Clan', Cup Final, which pitted two tribal groups from Hargeisa against each other amid a chaotic atmosphere in the capital's 15,000-plus capacity stadium, wasn't just a chance to play out tribal rivalries in peace. It was a statement that Somaliland can police itself and promote sport without help from Somalia, the UN or any other outsiders.

"Somaliland is desperate for recognition," says Jamal Alon, a British-Somalilander who helped organise this year's final. "It's days like this that show it can be recognised through football, and sport in general.

"This is Mo Farah's birthplace so there's tons of sporting talent here. Come to Hargeisa, see the city and bring your scouts!"

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For Clan and Country (2 of 12)
Hargeisa, Somaliland
By mcseaniew
18 Jul 2013

Security is tight as stick-wielding policemen keep punters in check. Previous years' finals have seen tribe-driven violence and stone-throwing.

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For Clan and Country (5 of 12)
Hargeisa, Somaliland
By mcseaniew
18 Jul 2013

The women's stand is awash with colour, as girls and older women in traditional dress wave national flags and scream support for their team.

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For Clan and Country (3 of 12)
Hargeisa, Somaliland
By mcseaniew
18 Jul 2013

The crowd, which doesn't swell to full-capacity until the second half, watches as the game slips into sudden-death penalties.

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For Clan and Country (9 of 12)
Hargeisa, Somaliland
By mcseaniew
18 Jul 2013

It's a tough day for Hawd's exhausted players, who also lost last year's final to their cross-town rivals.

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For Clan and Country (10 of 12)
Hargeisa, Somaliland
By mcseaniew
18 Jul 2013

A presenter reports pitch-side after the match. Last year's final drew just one local crew while this year seven TV stations covered the game - a sign of progress off the field in Somaliland.

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For Clan and Country (11 of 12)
Hargeisa, Somaliland
By mcseaniew
18 Jul 2013

Maroodi-Jeh's captain receives the winners' trophy from Somaliland justice minister Hussein Ahmed Aided. "I'm supporting both teams," he says. "I'm the minister of justice - I have to be even-handed!"

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Port Said Massacre 5
Cairo, Egypt
By jonathanrashad
27 Jun 2013

Widowed wife and daughter of Youssef Hamada in the Cairo suburbs of Matariya. Hamada initially managed to escape the attack, but turned back after hearing his comrades scream for help from behind the welded gates. When they broke open, he was crushed under the gates. "The only reason l'm still living is my daughter Gana. She's Youssef's flesh and blood," said his wife.

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Port Said Massacre 14
Cairo, Egypt
By jonathanrashad
27 Jun 2013

Graffiti outside al-Ahly club headquarters in Cairo, showing the number of football fans killed in the Port Said stadium massacre and the ensuing violence. As these deaths threw the political landscape in turmoil, families continue to mourn the loss of 74 sons.

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Port Said Massacre 12
Cairo, Egypt
By jonathanrashad
26 Jun 2013

Father of Ahmed Zakariya, popularily known as 'Ziko', holds a portrait of his son. Ziko, 16, died after being hit on the head with a metal rod. He was a highschool student and an old member of Ultras Ahlawy. "I will never back down until all of those responsible for my son's death are held accountable," said his father.

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Port Said Massacre 11
Cairo, Egypt
By jonathanrashad
25 Jun 2013

Osama Mostafa, who died at the age of 18 in the stadium massacre in Port Said, was a Computer Science student and a member of Ultras Ahlawy.

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Port Said Massacre 7
Cairo, Egypt
By jonathanrashad
25 Jun 2013

Portrait of slain football fan Mohamed Khaled, who died at the age of 15. Khaled was one of the youngest victims in the stadium massacre. He was fatally struck on the head with a metal rod. "He didn't tell me that he was going to the match that day, as he knew I would refuse. I wish I had the chance to hug him before he left," said his mother.

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Port Said Massacre 3
Cairo, Egypt
By jonathanrashad
22 Jun 2013

Fierce and dedicated football fans of al-Ahly club, Ultras Ahlawy, after they forcibly broke into a Cairo stadium, defying a police-imposed ban to attend matches following the Port Said massacre.

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Port Said Massacre 2
Cairo, Egypt
By jonathanrashad
22 Jun 2013

Fierce and dedicated football fans of al-Ahly club, Ultras Ahlawy, after forcibly breaking into a Cairo stadium, defying a police-imposed ban to attend matches following the Port Said massacre.

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Port Said Massacre 1
Cairo, Egypt
By jonathanrashad
21 Jun 2013

Fierce and dedicated football fans of al-Ahly club, Ultras Ahlawy, after they forcibly broke into a Cairo stadium, defying a police-imposed ban to attend matches following the Port Said massacre.

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Port Said Massacre 10
Cairo, Egypt
By jonathanrashad
19 Jun 2013

Parents of slain football fan Mohamed Abdallah hold his portrait in his room. Abdallah, 21, was an engineering student and was supposed to get married in 2013 to his childhood friend following a five-year engagement. "I sold everything to buy a him an apartment for his marriage, but now he's gone," said his mother.

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Port Said Massacre 9
Cairo, Egypt
By jonathanrashad
19 Jun 2013

Family of slain football fan Mosatafa Metwally, who died at the age of 17. Metwally was a highschool student, and an influential person in Ultras Ahlawy despite his young age.

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Gezi Gets Gassed (44 of 46)
Istanbul, Turkey
By umutvedat
19 Jun 2013

A football hooligan, wearing a supporting jersey, holds up the Turkish Flag, facing the Water Cannon Tank.