Qatar Stars League

The Qatar Stars League (Arabic: دوري نجوم قطر), formerly known as the Q-League, also known as Qatar Premier League (QPL), is the highest professional league in Qatari football, with the next tier being the Qatargas League. The league's first season was played in 1963, although the first official season occurred in 1972. The club which has won the maximum cumulative championships is Al Sadd SC, with 14 titles, including the most recent league. The league currently features 14 clubs, with one club being demoted to make room for one club being promoted.

Qatar Stars League
Founded1963 (1963)
ConfederationAFC (Asia)
Number of teams12
Level on pyramid1
Relegation toQatargas League
Domestic cup(s)Emir Cup
Crown Prince Cup
Sheikh Jassem Cup
International cup(s)AFC Champions League
GCC Champions League
Current championsAl-Sadd (14th title)
Most championshipsAl-Sadd (14 titles)
TV partnersbeIN Sports, Al Kass Sports
2019–20 Qatar Stars League

The Qatari league system provides 4 domestic cups that these clubs are able to participate in: the Emir of Qatar Cup, open to all teams in both the first and second divisions, the Qatar Crown Prince Cup a postseason tournament played by the top four first division teams, the Sheikh Jassem Cup, a prelude to the first division regular season, and the Qatari Stars Cup, a round-robin tournament played midseason. The league title has been won by 8 clubs since its inception.

League structure

There are 2 divisions in the Qatari football structure and the league has previously seen one club promoted and relegated each year except in expansion seasons. The Qatar Stars League, previously known as the Q-League currently features 14 teams, with the 2nd division featuring 18 teams. The top four clubs at the end of the regular league system participate in the Qatar Crown Prince Cup, which was formed in the 1994/95 season.[1]

The Qatar Stars League has slowly expanded since the turn of the decade moving from 9 clubs to 10 clubs, and then latest setup of 12 clubs for the Qatari League 2009-10 campaign. It was announced that in the 2013-14 season, the number of clubs in the top division would increase to 14, whereas the second division would increase to 18 clubs which includes the reserve teams of the top division clubs.[2]

There are currently 4 official amateur football leagues in Qatar. Three amateur leagues are under the jurisdiction of the Qatar Community Football League (QCFL), established by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, and the fourth, known as the Qatar Amateur League (QAL) is recognized by the QFA. Inaugurated in November 2013,[3] the QAL has 14 teams, all of which were established through the country's government, political and social sectors.[4]

It was announced on 15 April 2009 that no clubs would be relegated from the top flight in the 2008–09 Qatar Stars League season, due to expansion reasons, however the announcement was made with only one game remaining.[5] That year, the top league expanded to 12 clubs. In May 2013, the QFA again expanded the league by two more teams, bringing the total number of clubs in the first division to 14.[6]


The first unofficial season of the Qatar Stars League was the 1963–64 season, 3 years after the formation of the QFA. Similarly, a second division was also created during this time. For many years, there was no promotion or relegation system.[7]

In 1972–73, the first official season was played.[8] Al Estaqlal, now known as Qatar SC, won the first championship.

The first time there was a playoff for the championship was in 1980, between Al Sadd and Al Arabi. Al Sadd won the match 1–0.[7]

Although a second division had been in place for some time, there was no relegation or promotion system. However, in 1981, such a system was put in place for the first time. Five clubs participated in the second division that year.[7]

In 1984–85, there was no relegation or promotion due to the participation of a majority of the Qatari players within the national team, who were then preparing for the qualification rounds of the 1986 FIFA World Cup.[7]

In 1994, for one season, the QFA launched a new system where matches ending in draws would end in a penalty shoot-out to determine the winner. This was put in place in an effort to improve attendance.[7]

Three second division clubs were dissolved in the 1990 season: Al Nasr, Al Tadamon, and Al Nahda. Many of their players were distributed to first division clubs and became prominent players in Qatari football history, such as Fahad Al Kuwari, Ahmed Al Kuwari and Hamad Al Khalifa. After the dissolution of these clubs, there was no longer any relegation or promotion for five years. In 1995/96, the second division was brought back with five clubs, while there ten clubs participating in the first division.[7]

Another method the QFA attempted to develop the league was allocating each Q-League club with a sum of $10,000,000 to buy big-name foreign players in order to increase popularity in 2003. It succeeded, and players such as Ronald and Frank de Boer, Pep Guardiola, and Gabriel Batistuta soon appeared in the league.[9]

In addition, in 2004, the Aspire Academy was formed, which provides world-class training facilities to young people in order to not only improve the footballing standard in Qatar, but internationally. Many notable players have graduated from the academy, including Abdelkarim Hassan, Saad Al Sheeb, and Ibrahim Majid.[10]

In 2009, no clubs were relegated from the top division. Due to the recent formation of Lekhwiya and El Jaish, this meant that the second division would lose two clubs while two more clubs would enter the first division, bringing the total number of clubs in the first division to 12, and the second division to 6.[5] As part of the expansion campaign, the "Q-League" changed its name to what it is currently known as, "Qatar Stars League",[11] and inaugurated a new domestic cup, the "Qatari Stars Cup".[12]

Qatar Stars League member clubs

Table as of 2018–19 Season:

Qatar Stars League
Club Location Stadium Year Formed
Al Ahli Doha Doha Hamad bin Khalifa Stadium 1950
Al-Arabi Doha Doha Grand Hamad Stadium 1952
Al-Gharafa Al-Gharafa, Al-Rayyan Thani bin Jassim Stadium 1979
Al Kharaitiyat Al Kharaitiyat, Umm Salal Al-Khawr Stadium 1996
Al-Khor Al Khor City, Al Khor Al-Khawr Stadium 1961
Al Rayyan Al Rayyan Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium 1967
Al Sadd Al Sadd Khalifa International Stadium 1969
Al Sailiya Doha Ahmed bin Ali Stadium 1995
Al-Wakrah Al Wakrah Al-Wakrah Stadium 1959
El Jaish (Army Club) Duhail, Doha Suhaim bin Hamad Stadium 2007
Al-Duhail SC Doha Al-Gharafa Stadium 2009
Mesaimeer Mesaimeer, Al Rayyan Al-Sailiya Stadium 1998
Qatar SC Al Dafna, Doha Suhaim bin Hamad Stadium 1959
Umm Salal Umm Salal Grand Hamad Stadium 1996

Championship history

The champions are:[13]

Most successful clubs

1Al-Sadd SC14
2Qatar SC8
3Al-Rayyan SC8
4Al-Gharafa SC7
5Al-Arabi SC7
6Al-Duhail SC6
8Al-Wakrah SC2

Total titles won by region

Region Number of titles Clubs
Al-Sadd SC (14), Qatar SC (8), Al-Arabi SC (7), Lekhwiya SC (6), Al Maref (3)
Al Rayyan
Al-Rayyan SC (8), Al-Gharafa SC (7)
Al Wakrah
Al-Wakrah SC (2)
Al Khor
Al Shamal
Umm Salal

Post-season awards

An award system was developed in 2006 in which the best player and coach of the footballing season are selected by a panel of journalists. Each award winner receives $100,000.[22][23] There are also awards for youth players and club staff.

Year Player of the Year Club Manager of the Year Club
2006[22] Sebastián Soria Al Gharafa Jorge Fossati Al Sadd
2007[22] Emerson Sheik Al Sadd Jorge Fossati Al Sadd
2008[22] Aziz Ben Askar Umm Salal Marcos Paquetá Al Gharafa
2009[22] Leonardo Pisculichi Al Arabi Sebastião Lazaroni Qatar SC
2010[22] Juninho Pernambucano Al Gharafa Caio Júnior Al Gharafa
2011[22] Bakari Koné Lekhwiya Abdullah Mubarak Al Ahli
2012[24] Rodrigo Tabata Al-Rayyan Diego Aguirre Al-Rayyan
2013[25] Khalfan Ibrahim Al Sadd Hussein Amotta Al Sadd
2014 Nadir Belhadj Al Sadd Sami Trabelsi Al-Sailiya SC
2015 Hassan Al-Haydos Al Sadd Michael Laudrup Lekhwiya SC
2016 Rodrigo Tabata Al-Rayyan Jorge Fossati Al-Rayyan
2017 Nam Tae-hee Lekhwiya Jesualdo Ferreira Al Sadd
2018 Youssef Msakni Al-Duhail SC Djamel Belmadi Al-Duhail SC
2019 Akram Afif Al Sadd Jesualdo Ferreira Al Sadd

Top goalscorers


Year Best scorers Team Goals
1972–73 Awodh HassanAl-Esteqlal10
1973–74 unknown
1974–75 Not held
1975–76 Jamal Al KhatibAl-Esteqlal8
1976–77 unknown
1977–78 unknown
1978–79 Hassan MattarAl-Sadd SC11

Hamdan Hamed
Badr Bilal
Sharif Abdul-Hamed
Al Ahli SC
Al-Sadd SC
Qatar SC
1980–81 Hassan MattarAl-Sadd SC9
1981–82 Mansoor MuftahAl-Rayyan SC19
1982–83 Mansoor MuftahAl-Rayyan SC10
1983–84 Mansoor MuftahAl-Rayyan SC7
1984–85 Ahmed YaqoubAl-Arabi SC7
1985–86 Mansoor MuftahAl-Rayyan SC20
1986–87 Hassan SabelaAl Ahli SC9
1987–88 Hassan JowharAl-Sadd SC11
1988–89 Farshad PiousAl Ahli SC9
1989–90 Marco AntônioAl-Arabi SC10

Mahmoud Soufi

Adel Khamis

Hassan Sabela



Al Ahli SC

1991–92 Mubarak Mustafa

Rabeh Madjer

Al Arabi SC

Qatar SC

1992–93 Mubarak MustafaAl Arabi SC9
1993–94 Ahmed RadhiAl-Wakrah SC16
1994–95 Mohammed Salem Al-EnaziAl-Rayyan SC9
1995–96 Ricky OwubokiriAl-Arabi SC16
1996–97 Mubarak Mustafa

Alboury Lah

Al-Arabi SC

Al Ahli SC


Hussein Amotta

Alboury Lah

Cláudio Mendes Prates

Al-Sadd SC

Al Ahli SC

Al-Arabi SC

1998–99 Fabrice AkwaAl-Wakrah SC11
1999–2000 Mohammed Salem Al-EnaziAl-Rayyan SC14
2000–01 Mamoun DiopAl-Wakrah SC14
2001–02 Rachid AmraneAl-Ittihad16
2002–03 Rachid RokkiAl-Khor SC15
2003–04 Gabriel BatistutaAl-Arabi SC25
2004–05 Sonny AndersonAl-Rayyan SC20
2005–06 Carlos TenorioAl-Sadd SC21
2006–07 Younis MahmoudAl-Gharafa SC24
2007–08 Clemerson de AraújoAl-Gharafa SC27
2008–09 Magno AlvesUmm Salal SC25
Younis Mahmoud
Al-Arabi SC
Al-Gharafa SC
2010–11 Younis MahmoudAl-Gharafa SC15
2011–12 AdrianoEl Jaish SC18
2012–13 Sebastián SoriaLekhwiya SC19
2013–14 Dioko KaluyitukaAl Ahli SC22
2014–15 Dioko KaluyitukaAl Ahli SC25
Abderrazak Hamdallah
Rodrigo Tabata
El Jaish SC
Al Rayyan
Baghdad Bounedjah
Youssef El-Arabi
2017–2018 Youssef El-ArabiAl-Duhail SC26
2018–2019 Baghdad BounedjahAl-Sadd SC39

By player

Rank Player Country Titles Seasons
1Mansoor Muftah Qatar41981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1985–86
2Mubarak Mustafa Qatar31991–92, 1992–93, 1996–97
2Younis Mahmoud Iraq32006–07, 2009–10, 2010–11
4Baghdad Bounedjah Algeria22016–17, 2018–19
4Hassan Sabela Qatar21986–87, 1990–91
4Alboury Lah Senegal21996–97, 1997–98
4Mohammed Salem Al-Enazi Qatar21994–95, 1999–2000
4Dioko Kaluyituka Democratic Republic of the Congo22013–14, 2014–15
4Youssef El-Arabi Morocco22016–17, 2017–18

By country

Country Players Total
 Qatar 23 14
 Brazil 7 7
 Morocco 5 4
 Algeria 3 4
 Senegal 3 2
 Iraq 3 1
 Democratic Republic of the Congo 2 1
 Iran 1 1
 Argentina 1 1
 Egypt 1 1
 Lebanon 1 1


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