Qatar operation Al-Shaqab cuts contract of Frankie Dettori in half

Franke Dettori will earn half as much as he previously did when riding for Sheikh Joaan. (Reuters)
Updated 30 January 2018
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Qatar operation Al-Shaqab cuts contract of Frankie Dettori in half

LONDON: The Al-Shaqab Racing operation has come under further financial scrutiny after news emerged that it has halved the contract of its leading jockey.
According to The Times, three-time Champion jockey Frankie Dettori has had his six-figure contract with Al-Shaqab reduced by 50 percent in a move that comes weeks after the same paper revealed the operation owed more than £1 million (US1.4 million) in unpaid fees to a number of Britain’s leading flat racing trainers. Al-Shaqab Racing, which runs a 170-horse operation, is fronted by Sheikh Joaan Al-Thani, the brother of the emir of Qatar.
Dettori joined Al-Shaqab in July 2013 after ending his 18-year association with the Godolphin stables, owned by Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, in October 2012. He was handed a six-figure contract by the Qataris to ride horses in Britain including Galileo Gold to English Guineas and Royal Ascot glory and Olympic Glory to the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes, but that has now been renegotiated after Al-Shaqab shifted much of its focus to France.
“They have reduced the number of horses by 50 percent in Britain and the contract makes allowance for that,” Peter Burrell, Dettori’s agent, told The Times. “It would be correct to say that (the retainer) was a substantial six-figure sum,” Burrell said.

News of Dettori’s revised one-year contract comes on the back of reports that Al-Shaqab owed more than £1 million in a backlog of unpaid invoices, including Dettori and a number of leading trainers. Al-Shaqab apologized to the trainers to whom it owed money when The Times broke the story, but the cash crisis is likely to be a source of embarrassment for Sheikh Joaan.
“It’s an unfortunate situation that has put us all in some difficulty,” one trainer told The Guardian. “Obviously there must be money. They’re one of the richest states in the world. I don’t know what the problem has been. I’ve had to ask my bank to extend the overdraft.”
Khalifa Al-Attiyah, the general manager and a close associate of Sheikh Joaan, blamed an organizational restructuring and an accounting review for the backlog in payments, denying it was because of Qatar’s diplomatic crisis.
“The blockade against Qatar had many consequences socially and politically but not for this situation,” he said. “This is purely an issue due to the financial review taking longer than expected time. We do apologize and it is not something we wanted to happen or take lightly. We are in the middle of restructuring the whole organization.” He said all invoices would be paid “in the coming weeks.”
The Times reports that only some have been paid in full while others have received partial amounts. One leading Newmarket trainer said that he had been paid about one third of what he was owed, which amounted to more than £200,000.
At the beginning of the month, when the cash-flow story was first published, Dettori was understood not to have been paid since August, The Times reported. It is not known whether that unpaid bill has since been settled.


UAE end Kyrgyzstan’s Asian Cup odyssey

Updated 22 January 2019
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UAE end Kyrgyzstan’s Asian Cup odyssey

  • Substitute Ahmed Khalil was UAE’s hero on an angst-ridden Abu Dhabi night as he blasted home from the spot in the first additional period
  • Less than a quarter of an hour earlier Kyrgyzstan substitute Tursunali Rustamov had stunned the home side when he snatched a dramatic stoppage-time equalizer

SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates: Hosts United Arab Emirates ended Kyrgyzstan’s fairytale with a controversial extra-time penalty to reach the Asian Cup quarter-finals on a 3-2 soreline Monday.
Substitute Ahmed Khalil was UAE’s hero on an angst-ridden Abu Dhabi night as he blasted home from the spot in the first additional period to set up a meeting with the Socceroos in the last eight.
Less than a quarter of an hour earlier Kyrgyzstan substitute Tursunali Rustamov had stunned the home side when he snatched a dramatic stoppage-time equalizer at the end of a nail-biting contest.
It had taken the Emirates just 14 minutes to break through as Khamis Esmaeel headed in an Ismail Matar corner.
Plucky Kyrgyzstan refused to go unnoticed on their Asian Cup debut, however, and the White Falcons equalized midway through the first half when Mirlan Murzaev squeezed the ball in from a seemingly impossible angle.
Kyrgyz captain Valery Kichin then gave UAE a scare when his curling shot crashed against the crossbar.
But Ali Mabkhout volleyed the 2015 semifinalists back in front with his third goal of the tournament after some horror defending from Mustafa Iusupov.
That looked to have ended Kyrgyz defiance until Rustamov headed home in the dying seconds to force extra time.
But after Mabkhout had tumbled in the box under minimal contact, the Asian Cup hosts were awarded a penalty that was hotly disputed — for the second time in this tournament.
Khalil kept his cool though and drilled home the spot kick on 103 minutes to give UAE a shot at avenging their semifinal defeat by Australia four years ago.
There was still time for Baktyiar Duishobekov and Rustamov to hit the woodowork, but the Emiratis somehow clung on.