The Qatar Stars League (QSL) is set to kick off on Thursday, September 15, with Al Ahli taking on Al Gharafa at the Hamad Bin Khalifa Stadium at 6pm.
According to the fixtures released yesterday, Al Sailiya and Al Arabi play in the second match at 8pm on the opening day. The tie will be the first taste of QSL action for new Arabi coach Gerardo Pelusso.
Other highlights from the first weekend of action include reigning QSL champions Al Rayyan taking on newly-promoted Al Shahania on Saturday, September 17, at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.
El Jaish, who finished last season in second place, will take on Al Wakrah on Sunday at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa stadium.
The second round, which kicks off on September 22, Arabi and Jaish will take to the pitch at the Grand Hamad Stadium, before Xavi’s Al Sadd deal with a tough home fixture against Al Ahli the next day. The second week’s action will come to a close when Gharafa’s top four aspirations is put to an early test against Lekhwiya at the Thani Bin Jassim Stadium
The league will then take a short break for the upcoming 2018 World Cup Qualifiers and resume on Friday, October 14. (QSL)
Fixtures: the process
*First, factors like FIFA match days, AFC, Qatar national team, Qatar’s representative in the AFC Champions League, security, host broadcaster Al Kass, Ministry of Culture & Sport, and QSL Marketing and Events teams, are taken into consideration
*The principle of the fixtures is that the top 7 teams of last year’s QSL will face the bottom 7 of the QSL including the two promoted teams. Also, the top four sides will not play their top four rivals in two consecutive matches
* Sides will not have more than two consecutive matches either home or away
* El Jaish, who are Qatar’s only representative in the AFC Champions League, will play the last game of round 1 on Sunday to give them enough time to recover. Should El Jaish progress further in the continental competition, then appropriate changes will be made to the schedule with all parties involved being informed accordingly
*The matches are scheduled for around Maghreb Prayer time. From rounds 1-6, the season will run on summer time, meaning that players and officials will have the chance to pray after the final minutes of the teams’ warm up. Accordingly, the evening kick offs will start approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes after the first match
*Round 7 onward, the timing will revert to a winter format, meaning an earlier start to matches, with Maghreb prayers falling in-between halftime. This will ensure that all players and officials have the chance to pray, as per the Islamic traditions of the state of Qatar
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