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Are the Sheikhs planning to shake up world football? We need to know.

Andy McSmith
qatar getty 300x225 Are the Sheikhs planning to shake up world football? We need to know.

(Getty Images)

The back three pages of yesterday’s Times were taken up by a sensational exclusive by the Chief Football Correspondent, Oliver Kay, revealing that the world’s leading football clubs are to be offered an eye-watering £175 million each to take part in a 24 team tournament to be held every two years in Qatar.

Curiously, several paragraphs further down, Kay reported that ‘leading figures’ from England’s major clubs knew nothing about the plan.

They would have known something had they followed a French language website Les Cahiers du Football, which posted an article on Sunday, containing the same information. Their piece was decorated with what purported to be the new tournament’s logo, which also appeared in The Times.

But here, the story seems to run into the sand. The Qatari Football Association issued a flat denial. Then the author of the original French article, Jerome Latta, was quoted by a French website as saying that it was a spoof. ”I swear it’s come entirely out of my imagination. I don’t have a source,” he said.

Oliver Kay insists that he has not been taken in. “@cahiersdufoot was 100% NOT the source of my story, as I suspect Cahiers know,” he tweeted. In today’s Times he insists that even though the Qatari FA “has heard nothing to suggest such a concept is genuine… The Times, having made no mention of the Qatari FA in yesterday’s report, maintains such a project has been discussed.”

So will the Sheikhs shake up the world game or not? We await developments.

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