Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) yesterday launched the ‘Banks Football League’ during a press conference held at the auditorium in the Aspire Dome. Representatives from Qatar Central Bank (QCB) and Qatar Football Association (QFA) attended the press conference along with participating banks and members of the media.

The new league builds on the success of a tournament organised at the Aspire Dome during Ramadan, as part of the Aspire Zone Foundation’s Ramadan Sports Festival. It offers even greater numbers of banks the opportunity to participate, with 14 banks set to take part.

Held between October 2015 and February 2016, the league is expected to feature strong competition between participating banks. A total of 91 matches will be played, with games held every Saturday and Sunday with occasional weekly breaks.

Those banks participating in the league include Qatar Central Bank, Qatar National Bank, Qatar Islamic Bank, Masraf Al Rayyan, Barwa Bank, Qatar Islamic International Bank, Al Ahli Bank, International Bank Of Qatar, Khaliji Bank, Qatar Development Bank, Commercial Bank, Doha Bank, HSBC, and Standard Chartered.

Hussain Al Qahtani, Corporate Communications Manager at Aspire Zone Foundation said:

We are delighted to launch this new Aspire Banks Football League which follows the major success of our banks tournament during Ramadan. This league will help to enhance community ties and encourage good-natured competition between one of the country’s most important business sectors. It reflects our organisation’s consistent focus on encouraging and motivating members of the community to adopt healthier lifestyles and be more active. This fulfils Aspire Zone Foundation’s mission as well as key pillars of the Qatar National Vision 2030 in building a healthy and prosperous society.’

He added:

I would like to thank Qatar Central Bank and all the banks taking part in the league for their continuous support and cooperation, and I wish everyone the best of luck. We are looking forward to a number of exciting games as part of this competition.’

Commenting on the news, Jassim Al Baker, Head of Financial and Administrative Affairs at Qatar Central Bank said:

We are excited to launch this new version of the Banks league, giving more banks the chance to participate – especially after the success of the Ramadan banks tournament. In addition to giving employees the opportunity to become fit and active, the league will also help build relationships and cooperation between banks in Qatar. We would like to thank Aspire Zone Foundation for its tremendous efforts in organising this league and applaud the lengths it goes to in order to encourage all members of the community to lead healthy lifestyles.’

The press conference also included a technical presentation by representatives of Aspire Zone Foundation and Qatar Football Association which explained in detail the rules and regulations of the league.

The draw for the first week of competitions resulted in the following matches:

[row][half]Saturday 24 October 2015

Qatar National Bank X International Bank of
Qatar

Khaliji Bank X Commercial Bank

Qatar Development Bank X Masraf Al Rayyan

Barwa Bank X Qatar International Islamic Bank

 [/half][half]Sunday 25 October 2015

Qatar Central Bank X Qatar Islamic Bank

HSBC X Al Ahli Bank

Standard Chartered X Doha Bank

[/half][/row]

The press conference also included an open discussion between representatives from participating banks which resulted in some constructive suggestions on how to expand the league further.

The Ramadan banks tournament took place during the Aspire Zone Ramadan Sports Festival. It involved eight teams including Qatar National Bank, Masraf Al Rayyan, Barwa Bank, Qatar International Islamic Bank, Qatar International Bank, Commercial Bank, Doha Bank, and Qatar Development Bank, with the team from Masraf Al Rayyan crowned eventual winners.