Qatar Stars League

The Qatar Stars League (Arabic: دوري نجوم قطر), or the QSL, also called QNB Stars League for sponsorship reasons, is the top level football league in Qatar football league system. Contested by 12 teams, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Qatari Second Division (QSD). Seasons of the QSL usually run from September to April.

Qatar Stars League
Qatar Stars League logo.png
Founded1972; 50 years ago (1972)
Number of teams12
Level on pyramid1
Relegation toQatari Second Division
Domestic cup(s)Emir Cup
Qatar FA Cup
Qatari Stars Cup
Sheikh Jassem Cup
International cup(s)AFC Champions League
GCC Champions League
Current championsAl-Sadd (16th title)
Most championshipsAl-Sadd (16 titles)
TV partnersbeIN Sports
Alkass Sports
Current: 2022–23 Qatar Stars League

The league's first season was played in 1963, although the first official season occurred in 1972. The club that has won the most championships is Al Sadd SC, with 15 titles. The league currently features 12 clubs, with one club being demoted to make room for one club being promoted.

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 structureEdit

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]


Early historyEdit

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] Al-Maref, a club representing the Ministry of Education, was dissolved in 1966-67 by decision of the QFA and its players distributed to other clubs.[8]

First official seasonEdit

In 1972–73, the first official season was played.[9] 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 a lack of players as members of the Qatar national football team were 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 were 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, Romário, Pep Guardiola, Fernando Hierro, Marcel Desailly, Stefan Effenberg, Claudio Caniggia, and Gabriel Batistuta soon appeared in the league.[10]

In addition, in 2004, the Aspire Academy was formed, which provides training facilities to young people in order to improve the footballing standard not only in Qatar, but internationally. Many notable players have graduated from the academy, including Abdelkarim Hassan, Saad Al Sheeb, and Ibrahim Majid.[11]

Changing name to Qatar Stars LeagueEdit

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",[12] and inaugurated a new domestic cup, the "Qatari Stars Cup".[13]

Al Sadd are the most successful team in the league



Club Wins Winning years
Al-Sadd 16 1971–72, 1973–74, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1980–81, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1988–89, 1999–00, 2003–04, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2012–13, 2018–19, 2020–21, 2021–22
Al-Rayyan 8 1975–76, 1977–78, 1981–82, 1983–84, 1985–86, 1989–90, 1994–95, 2015–16
Al-Arabi 7 1982–83, 1984–85, 1990–91, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1996–97
Al-Gharafa 7 1991–92, 1997–98, 2001–02, 2004–05, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10
Al-Duhail 7 2010–11, 2011–12, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2019–20
Qatar SC 3 1972–73, 1976–77, 2002–03
Al-Wakrah 2 1998–99, 2000–01

2021–22 seasonEdit

Qatar Stars League
Club Location Stadium Year Formed
Al Ahli Doha Hamad bin Khalifa Stadium 1950
Al-Arabi Doha Grand Hamad Stadium 1952
Al-Duhail Doha Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium 2009
Al-Gharafa SC Doha Thani bin Jassim Stadium 1979
Al-Khor SC Al Khor Al-Khor Stadium 1961
Al-Rayyan SC Al Rayyan Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium 1967
Al Sadd SC Al Sadd Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium 1969
Al Sailiya Doha Ahmed bin Ali Stadium 1995
Al-Shamal SC Madinat ash Shamal Al-Shamal SC Stadium 1980
Al-Wakrah SC Al Wakrah Al Janoub Stadium 1959
Qatar SC Doha Suheim bin Hamad Stadium 1959
Umm Salal SC Umm Salal Thani bin Jassim Stadium 1979

Total titles won by regionEdit

Region Number of titles Clubs
Al-Sadd SC (16), Qatar SC (8), Al-Arabi SC (7), Al-Duhail SC (7), Al Maref (3)
Al Rayyan
Al-Rayyan SC (8), Al-Gharafa SC (7)
Al Wakrah
Al-Wakrah SC (2)

Media coverageEdit


Seasons Channel
1972–2012 NA
2012–present Alkass Sports
beIN Sports

In 2012, Alkass Sports signed a deal to have the rights to broadcast Stars League in English. beIN Sports also bought rights to broadcast Stars League.

Post-season awardsEdit

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.[14][15] There are also awards for youth players and club staff.

Year Player of the Year Club Manager of the Year Club
2006[14]   Sebastián Soria Al Gharafa   Jorge Fossati Al Sadd
2007[14]   Emerson Sheik Al Sadd   Jorge Fossati Al Sadd
2008[14]   Aziz Ben Askar Umm Salal   Marcos Paquetá Al Gharafa
2009[14]   Leonardo Pisculichi Al Arabi   Sebastião Lazaroni Qatar SC
2010[14]   Juninho Pernambucano Al Gharafa   Caio Júnior Al Gharafa
2011[14]   Bakari Koné Lekhwiya   Abdullah Mubarak Al Ahli
2012[16]   Rodrigo Tabata Al-Rayyan   Diego Aguirre Al-Rayyan
2013[17]   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
2020   Akram Afif Al Sadd   Diego Aguirre Al-Rayyan

Top goalscorersEdit


Year Best scorers Team Goals
1972–73   Awodh Hassan Al-Esteqlal 10
1973–74   Mansoor Muftah Al-Rayyan SC 15
1974–75 Not held
1975–76     Jamal Al Khatib Al-Esteqlal 13
1976–77 unknown
1977–78   Mansoor Muftah Al-Rayyan SC 10
1978–79   Hassan Mattar Al-Sadd SC 11
Hamdan Hamed
Badr Bilal
Sharif Abdul-Hamed
Al Ahli SC
Al-Sadd SC
Qatar SC
1980–81   Hassan Mattar Al-Sadd SC 9
1981–82   Mansoor Muftah Al-Rayyan SC 18
1982–83   Mansoor Muftah Al-Rayyan SC 10
1983–84   Mansoor Muftah Al-Rayyan SC 7
1984–85   Ahmed Yaqoub Al-Arabi SC 7
1985–86   Mansoor Muftah Al-Rayyan SC 22
1986–87   Hassan Sabela Al Ahli SC 9
1987–88   Hassan Jowhar Al-Sadd SC 11
1988–89   Farshad Pious Al Ahli SC 9
1989–90   Marquinho Carioca Al-Arabi SC 10


Mahmoud Soufi

Adel Khamis

Hassan Sabela



Al Ahli SC

1991–92    Mubarak Mustafa

Rabeh Madjer

Al Arabi SC

Qatar SC

1992–93   Mubarak Mustafa Al Arabi SC 9
1993–94   Ahmed Radhi Al-Wakrah SC 16
1994–95   Mohammed Salem Al-Enazi Al-Rayyan SC 9
1995–96   Ricky Owubokiri Al-Arabi SC 16
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 Akwa Al-Wakrah SC 11
1999–2000   Mohammed Salem Al-Enazi Al-Rayyan SC 14
2000–01   Mamoun Diop Al-Wakrah SC 14
2001–02   Rachid Amrane Al-Ittihad 16
2002–03   Rachid Rokki Al-Khor SC 15
2003–04   Gabriel Batistuta Al-Arabi SC 25
2004–05   Sonny Anderson Al-Rayyan SC 20
2005–06   Carlos Tenorio Al-Sadd SC 21
2006–07   Younis Mahmoud Al-Gharafa SC 24
2007–08   Clemerson de Araújo Al-Gharafa SC 27
2008–09   Magno Alves Umm Salal SC 25
Younis Mahmoud
Al-Arabi SC
Al-Gharafa SC
2010–11   Younis Mahmoud Al-Gharafa SC 15
2011–12   Adriano El Jaish SC 18
2012–13   Sebastián Soria Lekhwiya SC 19
2013–14   Dioko Kaluyituka Al Ahli SC 22
2014–15   Dioko Kaluyituka Al Ahli SC 25
Abderrazak Hamdallah
Rodrigo Tabata
El Jaish SC
Al Rayyan
2016–17   Youssef El-Arabi Al-Duhail SC 24
2017–18   Youssef El-Arabi Al-Duhail SC 26
2018–19   Baghdad Bounedjah Al-Sadd SC 39
Yacine Brahimi
Akram Afif
Al Rayyan SC
Al-Sadd SC
2020–21   Baghdad Bounedjah Al-Sadd SC 21

By playerEdit

Rank Player Country Titles Seasons
1 Mansoor Muftah   Qatar 6 1973–74, 1977–78,

1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1985–86

2 Mubarak Mustafa   Qatar 3 1991–92, 1992–93, 1996–97
2 Younis Mahmoud   Iraq 3 2006–07, 2009–10, 2010–11
4 Hassan Sabela   Qatar 2 1986–87, 1990–91
4 Alboury Lah   Senegal 2 1996–97, 1997–98
4 Mohammed Salem Al-Enazi   Qatar 2 1994–95, 1999–2000
4 Dioko Kaluyituka   Democratic Republic of the Congo 2 2013–14, 2014–15
4 Youssef El-Arabi   Morocco 2 2016–17, 2017–18
4 Baghdad Bounedjah   Algeria 2 2018–19, 2020–21

By countryEdit

Country Players Total
  Qatar 24 17
  Brazil 7 7
  Algeria 5 5
  Morocco 5 4
  Senegal 3 2
  Iraq 2 4
  Democratic Republic of the Congo 2 1
  Iran 6 1
  Argentina 1 1
  Egypt 1 1
  Lebanon 1 1

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Heir Apparent Cup finals" (in Arabic). Al Kass. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  2. ^ "QSL confirms expansion move". Doha Stadium Plus. 7 May 2013. Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  3. ^ "Qatar Amateur League". Qatar Stars League. Archived from the original on 6 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Amateur League kick-off on Nov 11". Doha Stadium Plus. 13 November 2014. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Qatar Stars League (QSL)". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  6. ^ "QSL expands to 14 teams". Qatar Sports Today. 8 May 2013. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Archived copy" دوري نجوم قطر. (in Arabic). Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Qatar — List of Champions". RSSSF. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  9. ^ "« عن الريان « تاريخ النادي" (in Arabic). Al Rayyan Club. Archived from the original on 13 September 2012.
  10. ^ "Football in Qatar". Qatar Visitor. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012.
  11. ^ "Champ magazine, issue 7". Aspire Academy. December 2014. p. 9. Archived from the original on 17 March 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  12. ^ Matthias Krug (29 August 2009). "An Asian armada sets sail for Europe". ESPN FC. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  13. ^ "QNB The Exclusive Partner of QATAR STARS CUP". QNB. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g "QFA to name Player of the Year on Sunday". Qatar Football Association. Archived from the original on 17 May 2012.
  15. ^ QFA announce $100,000 for best player Doha Press.
  16. ^ "Tabata & Aguirre named season heroes". Qatar Stars League. 13 May 2012. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  17. ^ "Sadd's Khalfan, Raul, Amotta shine at QFA awards gala". Gulf Times. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  18. ^ "Qatar - List of Topscorers". Retrieved 11 August 2015.

External linksEdit