The Qatar Platform


So, like Vic’s new kit? That forest green is nice. Kind of Robin Hood. I never went in for last season’s tiger sleeves. Remember when he had long hair, har har? Yeah, so … wait. What’s that next to the netting? What are those, advertisements? What’s that squiggly writing on ’em? And that … tree?  Right there on the pitch?!?

Now, I’m not going to get precious about this, because the other images I Googled had “MasterCard” splashed across the back line, and then there’s those Walking Whoppers of Getafe. There are lots of teams all over La Liga who don’t have any sponsor at all, so you better eat everything on your collection plate.

Barcelona socis, though, are up in arms. Some are collecting signatures in protest, others are speaking out to the media. According to an interview with Sandro Rosell in today’s La Vanguardia, the club’s contract with the Qatar Foundation will be submitted to a board referendum as early as  September 24.

Now, the Qatar-Barcelona deal has been controversial from the start. It doesn’t do public relations much good when you kick UNICEF to Xavi’s hleb and turn every Messianic goal into a foreign ad. And there was some brouhaha over whether or not some Foundation funds found their way to some un-fun people. But now Rosell is comparing shirt sponsorship to smoking in Camp Nou. Barcelona counts 7 million socis, but only 170,000 pay dues. And those dues-paying members will seal the deal if they know what’s good for us (he means them, which in any case is probably not you.)

Besides, it’s not like Qatar Foundation spends its time stealing lunch money from UNICEF orphans. “Qatar,” says Sandro, “‘is what it is.” And what is that? you may ask. “We know what it is,” he replies. “It is a country in the Middle East.” Ah! you exclaim. The sidra tree! Now it all makes sense! But did you know that Qatar is also a needy country? “It’s a country asking for help,” Rosell explains, “help from the West” (that would be, well, me and probably you, depending on where you are right now.) “Qatar wants to open itself up to the world,” Rosell assures, like China and Nixon but with less Nixon and a lot more oil. “We can help them,” he cries, “help them on the path to a democratic future.” Because when you’re a Middle Eastern sheikh with three wives and almost thirty kids to support, you don’t need that 1.5 billion in personal net worth. No, you’re out singing “Kumbaya” with the Webmaster Wunderkinds in Arab Spring Square. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, he might keep the change, but not you.

Then again, you’ve probably never seen the lovely sheikha. You ought to, because I keep writing about her, but y’all blow her off in order to pull hair and gnash teeth over Barça boards and sell-out shirts. Go refresh your manita (make mine a double, Lady B!) and I’ll refresh your memory:

Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned is the third missus of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani (and I thought it would be too much trouble to hyphenate my married name). She’s 53 years old, has been married to Sheikh Hamad for over 3 decades and has seven kids. Nice, right? Lovely lady.

Then there’s all them smarts. She’s got a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Qatar and honorary PhDs from Virginia Commonwealth, Texas A&M, Carnegie Mellon, Imperial College London, and Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service.

And if you’re thinking about protesting on behalf of culés everywhere, you might as well call her directly. Just ask for the Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, where she kills time when not serving as President of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, or twirling pencils as Vice Chair of the Supreme Education Council, or flying paper airplanes as Chairperson of the Sidra Medical and Research Center; or stealing Swingline staplers as Chairperson of the Silatech Initiative … or maybe she’s whirlie-chair racing as Chairperson of the Arab Democracy Foundation. You might have to leave a message, though, since she may be on a little road trip as a UNESCO Special Envoy or a UN Alliance member, or just hobnobbing with her fellow Forbes 100 most-powerful women, or 25-most influential Middle Eastern business leaders according to The Times of London. I’m sure she’ll get right back to you.

Oh, and did I mention that she looks like this? Forget the royal enchufe, forgo the whole enchilada of titles and degrees. This is the woman who received a personal acknowledgement from Viennese conductor, Christoph Eschenbach, during the Philharmonic’s New Year’s Day concert. She’s charmed the medallions off of Prince Phillip of England. Every time she leaves the house, some Best-Dressed fashion editor falls into conniptions. And — even more importantly, from a cultural-icon standpoint — my gay-male-friends-who-worship-Cher long ago faved her on Facebook. This gal would leave Don Draper in a puddle of weepy Jell-O … what do you think someone like ol’ Sandro  says to her?

Probably he just nods and signs. That’s what most of us do. And then he turns to us and says, “Qatar Foundation, for example, is the world’s leading investor in stem-cell research to cure all kinds of disease.”

So that’s all, really. If you want to watch the Magisterial FC Barcelona in some Catalonian deserted lot, if you want the Great Messi to leonize London (or, God forbid, Madrid!), if you want to break the hearts of all those charming xiquets who look to the Fundació for their welfare, if you want people to die of cancer and Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis and all of those awful afflictions that Mrs. Mozah works so hard to cure, by all means vote “No” on September 24.

But that’s not going to be Sandro. ‘Cause otherwise he might find a certain Chanel bootie in the backseam of his suitie.




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SoccerMom obsesses over FCB and this blog instead of grading papers, burning dinner and/or raising her small children. She blames a Spanish husband and easy access to Hispanic-targeted cable sports channels for her football addiction and consequent failure as a professor, housekeeper and mother.


  1. September 6, 2011

    As one of those dues-paying socis, I laughed til my sides hurt. Thanks for that.

  2. blitzen
    September 6, 2011

    Well, I’m convinced. Let’s just put Mozah’s picture on the shirt, shall we? 😛

  3. Diego
    September 6, 2011

    Mozah = Banana (in Arabic) (not Kidding)

  4. outerspacedout
    September 7, 2011

    For the ruining the shirt point on the previous thread. It’s nothing to do with the region being Qatar for me, its the fact that we’re getting paid to put something on our shirts ie. a sponsor. UNICEF didn’t pay us, we paid them, which didn’t make it a sponsor. I didn’t like the QF cos its a sponsor and I don’t want us selling our shirt period.

    OKAY I JUST GOT AN EMAIL WHILE I WAS WRITING THIS COMMENT ITS FROM AUSAID THEY SAID I GOT THE SCHOLARSHIP and now they just need to get the placement from the university itself for it to be finalized.

  5. The__K__Man
    September 7, 2011

    From Abidal’s official Facebook page :

    Hello everybody and thank you for all your messages! These last weeks, people asked me a lot of questions about my future.
    I confirm you that I would like to end my career in the Barça.
    My agent and I told the club about that wish, many times, and I think the club has well understood this…
    So, I hope we will find a solution that will please everybody.
    In any case, I am deep in thought in this moment, but this situation doesn’t disturb me at all, on the contrary. I want to focus on the way I play in order to do a great season and to continue to win titles with this amazing club!
    But I also have to think about the rest of my career because my contract will end on june 2012.
    That’s why, I have decided,that I will do, in december 2012, a first point on my contract situation and what I will do next in my career…
    I wanted to give you this information first and you will be the firsts to be informed as soon as a decision is taken!
    Thanks my friends for your support!
    See you soon!

    • Lev
      September 7, 2011

      “a first point on my contract situation”…
      What does that mean?

  6. blitzen
    September 7, 2011

    OT: Looks like Torres may not be starting for Spain anytime soon:

    “There were ten players who didn’t play,” Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said when asked about the surprise decision to leave Torres out.
    “He is an important player, but the people selected for the national team are those who do well for their clubs, not the other way round.”


    • September 7, 2011

      He does seem to be regaining his form at Chelsea or atleast so it seemed from his league games this season, but yes he should no longer keep on being on the team as a passenger when he’s being awful. Negredo, Llorente and especially on-fire Soldado have all been doing far better as out-and-out centre-forwards. And even Fabregas has looked impressive in the middle of a front three alongside other Spaniards.

      Actually, right now I’d pick La Roja as:
      Casillas; Ramos (sigh), Puyol, Pique, Capdevila/Enrique/Monreal/Angel; Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta; Villa, Fabregas/Llorente, Silva. With one of Fabregas or Llorente starting and the other being a supersub.

      Not right now maybe, but if Fabregas continues to perform well as a false nine for Barca.

      While Soldado has been on fire I don’t think he’ll do well with Villa, though Soldado definitely needs some games in the NT to see how that works cos for all we know it might become an insane partnership.

      But since Spain has never really relied on the CF in recent times as their main goal threat but the role of the central striker has been more to link up with and free up space for Villa, occupy defenders and be part of the possession game- a job Torres was great at until he started being terrible lately- Fabregas seems to fit the role very well.

      Saying this with no Barca bias but as a fan of Spain- if Busquets can handle a DM role in CL competition he should be able to handle anything, Busi-Xavi-Iniesta and Pique-Puyol have too much chemistry and quality to not be the first-choice for Spain, Silva provides X-factor that Spain sorely lack at times and helps in the possession game, Llorente or Fabregas for aforementioned reasons plus being very much in form.

  7. Josep
    September 7, 2011

    why cant I marry soma or mobnasarlned 🙁

    • Blau-Grenade
      September 7, 2011

      Because you need to still come up with a marriage proposal that looks like this:

  8. ooga aga
    September 7, 2011

    que tanto me gusta la soccermami

  9. ElJefe
    September 7, 2011

    Did you guys see this yet? Zidane’s son training with EE. Does anyone feel a little bit like he’s Anakin Skywalker here? He actually looks like a Kaka clone…so there is the Stormtrooper angle as well.

    • Ryan
      September 7, 2011

      According to that video it seemed like he stretched/warmed up with the team only – it would’ve been great to see how he actually played!

    • September 7, 2011

      Well Canales looks like Luke so maybe we’ll get to see a Star Wars cast on the same pitch in a few years… in a Getafe far far away!

      • mom4
        September 8, 2011

        …in a Getafe far far away… 😆

        If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny. Consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice.>/i>

  10. barca96
    September 8, 2011

    Sheena posted a link of a continuation from barcastuff;
    barcastuff_back but twitter said the page doesn’t exist.

    • September 8, 2011

      Bayern have enormous commercial revenues, 172million which was 20mil more than Real and 50mil more than us.

      • Dani_el
        September 8, 2011

        They do. I guess it’s because the own (commercially) Germany.

      • September 8, 2011

        Australia. The scholarship is done, now once the university agrees to give a placement it’ll be finished.

          • barca96
            September 8, 2011

            Oh whoa! Congrats!
            And you were really interested in Notingham just a few months ago. Did you even sign up there?

            Where in OZ are you going to study?
            Let me guess.. Melbourne? Where it’s full of Malaysian, Singaporean, Indian and Vietnamese students. Basically lots of Asians 🙂

  11. The__K__Man
    September 8, 2011

    Eric Abidal was the one doing the presser today. To sum it all up he said it’s not about money or duration but he’s waiting to make sure his body can handle it and he does tests every month, so he’d like to wait till December to decide if he can renew or not.

    • blitzen
      September 8, 2011

      Well that puts everything into perspective, doesn’t it? What an amazing man.

    • Ryan
      September 8, 2011

      Ah, it’d be a shame if his body couldn’t handle playing anymore, but his health is definitely the most important thing.

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