(MENAFN - The Peninsula) An anchor conducts the draw ceremony PICTURES: Kammutty V
DOHA: The draw for the 2014 Emir Cup was conducted with unprecedented fanfare in the presence of QFA President Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani and a host of football dignitaries yesterday
The 42nd Emir Cup - the most popular football tournament in the country - will be held across five phases
The championship commences on April 21 and ends on May 17 at Khalifa International Stadium.
The event will kick off with the top four sides in Qatar Second Division competing against each other for two slots in round two
Qatar coach Djamel Belmadi was also present as were coaches of most Qatar Stars League (QSL) sides
The second round of the event will feature eight teams with four winners making it to round three.
A similar format will await eight teams in round three. Al Rayyan are the defending champions
Al Shamal and Al Shahaniya will also feature in the event after winning promotion to QSL last week
The Emir Cup will he held at four venues - Al Sadd Stadium, Al Arabi Stadium, Qatar SC Stadium and Khalifa Stadium
All the matches will be broadcast live on Al Kass Sports Channel
QFA President Sheikh Hamad said: "We have discussed the new football calender with our clubs for the 2014-15 season. The new season will be launched with the Sheikh Jassim Cup and followed by the Qatar Stars League and the Qatar Stars Cup.
The QFA President added: "We reiterate that our doors are open to all proposals to benefit football in Qatar. The fans, the players, the clubs and the working staff - we are all in the same boat. We all want to develop football in Qatar and that's our collective goal. We should all keep this in mind.
He explained; "We have a busy year coming up. We have the Gulf Cup in November followed by the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia. Then we have the 2016 Olympic Games qualifying campaign to look after. The time difference between the Gulf Cup and the Asian Cup is just one month.
The QFA president said: "QFA faces a number of challenges in getting our teams ready for key events and Qatar squads also have goals to conquer on the domestic and international levels. We accept these challenges. Football will become bigger and better and we will work together to achieve our goals."
Sheikh Hamad said: "From the players' perspective, they will have to do everything to show their worth on the pitch and show the fans the deserve to wear the national jersey.