Author: Carol

The Death of Qatar’s Most Famous Football Fan

The Death of Qatar’s Most Famous Football Fan

Qatar’s Loudest Fans Aren’t from Qatar

by J.D. Heyes


at the beginning of this year, during the FIFA World Cup, the country of Qatar hosted the tournament with the help of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two states with a long history of hosting sporting events. The two nations had already set their sights on hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the first ever to be held in the Middle East.

As the World Cup was coming to a close, the country and its people were enjoying a brief taste of freedom and prosperity. The footballing events brought hundreds of thousands of Qataris to the streets and the country’s airwaves, and created enormous amounts of excitement. But on August 29, an event in Qatar would mark the death of the country’s most famous football fan since Sheikh Hamad al-Thani was detained several years ago.

Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani was a fan of the sport, a man known in the country as the “Millionaire of Football.” He would never have imagined that he, too, would be killed in the name of football.

“He is gone,” his brother, Nasser al-Thani, said on Monday at a press conference in Doha. “It is over between us.”

In early July, the Qataris were enjoying the World Cup, though the streets of the capital were filled with police officers and soldiers standing guard against the increasing pro-democracy demonstrations happening in the country. On the evening of July 22, some 30,000 people made their way to Al-Jazeera, the state-owned television station, to peacefully demonstrate against what they saw as the abuse of their national honor. As night fell, crowds of demonstrators stormed the Qatari Embassy in a riot, but when Qatar refused to leave, a full-blown riot ensued. The police responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon, and the demonstrators eventually retreated to their residences.

The next morning, the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, was summoned to the palace to

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