Pioneering Visit from Qatar to World's First
A delegation from Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), led by Secretary General H.E Hassan Al Thawadi, travelled to Sheffield on Thursday 9th November to announce their support for Sheffield FC’s relocation back to the city.
The Secretary General was joined by H.E. Yousef Al Khater, Qatar’s Ambassador to the UK alongside representatives from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), Labour MP Louise Haigh, The Lord Mayor Councillor Anne Murphy and representatives from Sheffield City Council.
Chairman Richard Tims gave a tour of the Olive Grove site on Heely Bank Road, talked of the Clubs history and heritage and its ambitions to move back to the city and build a football history museum alongside a community stadium on the site where the original rules of the game were formed.
Hassan Al Thawadi said: “The city of Sheffield holds so many wonderful memories for me as a student of law at the university, so it is not difficult to speak fondly of this vibrant and important city. I am delighted to continue our support of the oldest football club in the world as it relocates back to its original ground, Olive Grove in Sheffield, the birthplace of the modern game and the site where in 1857 the rules of the modern game were devised.”
Al Thawadi previously supported Sheffield FC’s women’s team in 2015 to see their promotion into the FA Women’s Super League and remains a keen follower of the club’s fortunes. As part of the SC’s continued commitment to protecting the history and heritage of the game, Al Thawadi said he hoped the visit could act as a catalyst for others to support Sheffield FC, the club that gave birth to all others.
Al Thawadi added: “I have been so impressed by the vision of the Chairman and staff at the club to develop such an exciting project; to create a new home of football, a centre for grassroots, a place for football fans across the world to come and learn about where the rules of the game were born. From this field here in Sheffield 160 years ago to the first Middle Eastern FIFA World Cup in Qatar, football truly is a global game. My hope is that when the new ground and museum at Olive Grove is developed and schoolchildren visit they will be able to comprehend just how far the game travelled to every corner of the globe.”
Richard Tims, Chairman of Sheffield FC, said: “It seems fitting that in our 160th year of playing football that we can look confidently towards the club’s relocation back to Sheffield and to Olive Grove. Today is about having a catalyst that makes everyone sit up and take note, a partnership between the new pioneers of football, Qatar and Sheffield FC, the original pioneers of the game.
“Together we are protecting the heritage of football and we are asking all our friends in the world of football to come together and join us. We are every club’s great grandfather.
I have been traveling around the world to gain support from leaders in football and the response has been tremendous. However, it is translating that vocal support for our project into tangible resources that has been slow to filter through.
“We cannot function on goodwill alone and one thing I have a lot of is goodwill. We are therefore delighted that Qatar is joining us to support the new Home of Football grassroots centre at Olive Grove. We need to become sustainable as a club. We need to use our club’s famous history to create a genuinely neutral centre for grassroots. A place where kids from around the world can come and play on the pitch where it all started and learn about the history of the beautiful game.
"Chelsea FC has already pledged support by donating its foundation year of £1,905 and are looking to further develop their relationship with us. Two further premier league clubs have also shown support which we will announce in due course. We are encouraging others to do the same."