How British Oil Workers Introduced Football To Qatar 70 Years Ago

A British former oil worker has revealed how he and his Indian colleagues helped introduce soccer to the Middle East by taking part in in entrance of baffled native tribesmen – greater than 70 years before the 2022 World Cup.

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When former BP worker Tom Clayton, 92, arrived within the tiny Gulf state in 1948 the native population had by no means seen the game of soccer being played.

But soon they have been watching a ‘unusual spectacle’ of UK oil exploration staff and their Indian colleagues kicking a ball about within the desert using sacks as goals.

Tom Clayton (pictured), 92, arrived within the tiny Gulf state of Qatar in 1948 the place the local population had by no means seen the game of soccer being played. Here his British oil worker colleagues performed soccer with Indian co-staff using only a few sacks as targets

The Northern Area Sports Club from Dukhan, Qatar have been victorious in all their matches and have been the winners of both the Open Tournament Trophy and the Knockout Trophy for the 1952 season. Players seen right here (left to right in keeping with surname) are Sorraine (captain), Edward, Haddad, Bashir, Petro, Abu Ghazaleh, Hocarian, Sabbarah. Seated (left to right) are Nakhleh, Izeizat and Ali

Tom Clayton (pictured in 1948) labored in oil fields in Qatar the place British and Indian staff performed soccer, which the locals discovered an odd however amusing sight

At the time Qatar was nonetheless quite a sparse nation with not even a street linking the oil subject at Dukhan with the capital, Doha.

Local tribesman can be referred to as upon to assist with drilling operations being carried out by the Iraq Petroleum Company, who Mr Clayton labored for.

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‘To start out with it was primarily Indian staff playing with just a few of the British production engineers who would educate them the principles,’ mentioned Tom, from Wimbledon, South West London. ‘One in all my diary entries simply reads: ‘The Brits gained!’

To start with it was Indian clerical workers who played the most because the British had been working arduous to extend oil manufacturing.

But over the years, as more Brits arrived, football turned a much greater a part of camp life with cup competitions and leagues established.

The Qataris found the game of football an odd but amusing sight.

‘We had no concept of sports like that, however we used to enjoy watching the strange spectacle,’ recalled Ibrahim Al-Muhannadi, artificial turf football a authorities official and member of the Qatar Olympic Committee.

The winners of the Petroleum Development (P.D.) Football League for the 1950 to 1951 season have been Dukhan Sports Club (pictured). Pictured right here (standing left to proper) are E. W. Vrsalovich (linesman), P. Pereira, E.J Coelho (captain), T. C. Thomas, D. J. Samuel, P. M. David and M. M. Kurien. Seated are V. G. D’Souza, artificial grass football field P. R. Coutinho, M. Correa, M. F. Brac’Hen and D. Dantes

BP records show that from 1951 to 1953 the British and Indian staff of Petroleum Development (Qatar) Ltd have been taking part in in leagues and cup competitions. Pictured listed here are (left to right based on surname) Messrs, Bashir, Yacoub, Fowlie, Masri, Kendrick, David and Pereira. In the entrance row (left to proper in response to surname) are Messrs, Sabbara, Habbash, Petro and McVeigh

Before Qatar, Mr Clayton was primarily based in Kirkuk, Iraq, artificial grass soccer fields the place he performed in the inside left position in a group of oil staff. And earlier than that it was additionally British riggers who had launched Iran to football in the 1920s.

Now the father-of-two, who went on to work for BP before retiring in 1986, can’t quite consider that the nation the place he rubbed shoulders with native Bedouin tribesman is now the richest on the earth per capita.

Speaking four years earlier than the first ball is kicked firstly of the 2022 tournament, he stated: ‘For me it’s quite unbelievable what Qatar has achieved. An astonishing improvement and I might say full marks to the Qataris for his or her achievement in getting that large improvement of their country.

‘I think it’s incredible that they’ve come up to now so shortly. I actually do take my hat off to them.’

It wasn’t only the game of soccer which the British oil staff brought to Qatar, but additionally the game of golf.

Mr Clayton recalled: ‘There was no grass. We carried a sq. of artificial grass and wherever the ball landed within the sand you place down your grass and performed off that. I’d purchased an previous pair of clubs with me from Iraq.’

BP information present that from 1951 to 1953 the British and Indian workers of Petroleum Development (Qatar) Ltd had been taking part in in leagues and cup competitions.

Tom Clayton (pictured) did not solely help convey soccer to Qatar. He additionally performed golf while working in the realm for the Iraq Petroleum Company. To play he would carry a square of artificial grass around and wherever the ball landed within the sand he would put it down and play off that

The winners had been introduced with their trophy by George Heseldin, the company’s normal manager, who financed the primary league matches.

His daughter, Diana Rahme, mentioned: ‘It started out with individuals being bored, having nothing to do and having a soccer and kicking it round a discipline’.

It wasn’t long earlier than soccer was taking off across the nation. If you have any issues pertaining to where by and how to use artificial grass football field (, you can get in touch with us at our internet site. This led to the Qatar Football Association being arrange in 1960 and getting recognised by FIFA a decade later in 1970.

Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee said: ‘In four years’ time. 1.5 million followers will descend on Qatar from every corner of the globe and billions extra will tune in on their TVs, smartphones and tablets to observe 28 days of soccer.

‘It is going to be a momentous occasion for the teams collaborating, the fans watching and for the entire Arab world, which is eagerly anticipating internet hosting the showpiece occasion of the most well-liked sport in the world for the primary time ever.

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