Doha, QATAR – The FIFA 2006 World Cup Final match football which is to be auctioned off at this week’s Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) Gala Dinner has been insured for a staggering US$1 million.
Qatar Insurance Company has provided the million dollar cover after striking a deal with Qatar Foundation, the Doha-based charity, which has been instrumental in getting the year-old Reach Out To Asia initiative off the ground.
Such is the interest in the ball, signed by the world champions Italy, who beat France 2 –1 in last summer’s final in Berlin, that collectors and fans from around the world are expected to bid for the special item at the star-studded charity event being held at The Ritz Carlton Hotel Doha on November 4.
The football, flown First Class onboard Qatar Airways from Doha to London Heathrow for a promotional tour before returning to Qatar, goes under the hammer of London-based auctioneers Sotheby’s on Saturday night.
“Qatar Insurance is proud and delighted to be associated with the tremendous work being done by the Reach Out To Asia campaign and we wish them every success with the forthcoming Gala Dinner and auction,” said QIC chairman Khalifa Al Subaey.
Also being auctioned off at the exclusive event is a catalogue of exciting and exclusive lots from prestigious global brands such as Boucheron, Ferrari, Harley Davidson, Maserati and Ducatti.
Certified by FIFA, the name of the Final stadium, the teams, the match date and the kick-off time are all recorded onto this golden ball. But what makes the match ball truly ‘one of a kind’ is the addition of the signatures of the entire winning Italian team and reigning World Champions.
From team captain, Canavarro, to defender Materazzi, stalwart midfielder Gattuso to goalkeeper Buffon, each proud member of the World Cup winning team has penned his name triumphantly on the ball, capturing forever the spirit of what football fans view as the most important match in football history.
Celebrities, sportsmen, politicians and VIPs will gather in the Qatari capital this week for the red-carpet affair to raise funds for ROTA’s various aid projects throughout Asia and the Middle East.
Among the guests attending are Australian-born singer Natalie Imbruglia who will perform on the night, fashion icon Pierre Cardin, South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu, legendary Tour De France cyclist Eddie Merckx, Italian Olympic Gold Medalist Gelindo Bordin, 2006 World Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss, supermodel Adriana Karembeu and her husband Christian, the former French national footballer.
Along with the former stars of European football, Fabrizio Ravanelli, Gabriel Batistuta, Ronald de Boer and Jay Jay Okacha, they will join guests for what promises to be an evening to remember.
Former England soccer managers Sven-Goran-Eriksson and Glenn Hoddle, together with ex-French national coach Michel Hidalgo will also grace the red carpet event.
A non-governmental organisation based in Qatar, Reach Out To Asia was founded under the patronage of The Heir Apparent, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and chaired by his sister, Her Excellency Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.
Sheikha Mayassa has been the guiding force behind the charity’s success, helping organise high-profile fund-raising campaigns and visits to regions across Asia to help those in need.
Jointly founded in 2005 by national airline, Qatar Airways, Qatar Foundation and the Doha Asian Games Organising Committee (DAGOC), Reach Out To Asia has since raised millions of dollars for worthy causes across the Asian continent.
The three organisations have been collectively working throughout the year to support and drive the charity efforts of Reach Out To Asia, which has developed into a vibrant organisation, operating under the umbrella of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development based at Education City in Qatar.
To donate to the Reach Out To Asia fund-raising drive, pledges can be made to the following account:-
Qatar National Bank, Doha, Qatar
Account: Reach Out To Asia
Account Number: 0035-004919-001
Doha-based Qatar Airways will operate a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2013 – almost double the existing size. Qatar Airways has ordered 80 Airbus A350s, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter having started in November 2007. The airline is a launch customer of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with five aircraft on order and scheduled for delivery from 2010. Qatar Airways moves to the New Doha International Airport in 2010, when the first phase of the new facility opens. For more information, visit www.ndiaproject.com
Qatar Airways is one of only six airlines in the world with a Five Star ranking for service and excellence awarded by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency. Skytrax also named Qatar Airways’ cabin crew as Best in the Middle East for the fifth year running in 2007 following a survey of more than 15 million passengers worldwide. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com
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