DOHA: Sheffield FC – the world’s oldest football club – were welcomed to the British Embassy as their partnership with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) continued.
The UK ambassador to Qatar, His Excellency Ajay Sharma, welcomed Sheffield FC Chairman Richard Tims to the Embassy to further their quest to return to their spiritual home of Olive Grove – the ground where the first official rules of football were written.
The visit was arranged following an announcement last year the SC would invest 100,000 GBP into Sheffield FC’s foundation.
For Richard Tims, Chairman of Sheffield FC, that investment is just the beginning of a global hunt for funding that will allow his club to return to their beloved Olive Grove home.
The fact he can do it with a country and organisation that shares the same pioneering spirit as his own club is a positive for a man who lives and breathes football. He told www.sc.qa: “We’re a grassroots team from a provincial town in England. Sometimes it’s hard to believe we’ve even got to his position.
“We didn’t invent football. It was played all round the world before we came along in 1857 – but we did take the best bits of all the rules that everyone played by and tried to collate them into a common set of laws.”
“We were pioneers of the game in the early years. The people who started our game did it for the love and not for the money. We played continually for 150 years. Around 99.9 per cent of people around the world play for the love of the game and our organisation relates to this.”
The visit to Doha saw Sheffield FC visit Doha College, with some of the players from the FA Super League Ladies team putting young footballers through their paces.
Representatives from Sheffield FC – known simply as ‘The Club’- were then received at the British Embassy with a host of British companies they hope may join Sheffield on their journey.
While a partnership with the SC may not seem obvious at first, Tims concedes a chance meeting with the SC’s Secretary General Hassan Al Thawadi – who studied Law at Sheffield – during the bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ made him realise that both parties had a lot in common.
He added: “We were the original pioneers. For me, Qatar and the people driving the future of the game are the new shoots. I’m from England and love our heritage but you have to understand football is a global game, it’s for everyone. That’s why we’re here. We want to build the home of football. We need support to do that and we’re excited to be in Qatar and speak to people who share that passion.”
Following the British Embassy reception, Ambassador Sharma praised Sheffield for their vision to return to their original home ground – and the SC for helping support them.
H.E. Ambassador Sharma said: “We were delighted to welcome our friends from Sheffield and from the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy. The project being carried out by Sheffield FC represents the past, present and future of football and we are proud to welcome the club to our embassy today. Sheffield FC are an historic club. It’s so important that everyone supports the history of football when we can, and this initiative gives us that opportunity.”
“This visit also gives us the chance to reiterate how important our relationship with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy is. They also support the past, the present and the future of the game as well, particularly when it comes to the World Cup.”
“The World Cup in Qatar will one day become part of the successful history of football and I’m delighted that the UK can play a part in supporting that vision.”
Reflecting on the continued cooperation between the SC and Sheffield, SC Secretary General Al Thawadi added: “Not many people knew Qatar’s love of the game before we bid for the World Cup. It’s in every breath we take and we’re really proud to support Sheffield and help them develop their grassroots football. Their values epitomise everything we want to achieve as a country organising the World Cup. What Sheffield have managed to do on their journey is incredible. Our partnership seems to fit well in terms of a shared love of the game.”