Doha, QATAR – A staggering US$11.25 million was raised at the second Reach Out To Asia Gala Dinner in Doha with several exclusive items up for auction at the star-studded event held in the Qatari capital.

In the space of just an hour, seven exceptional lots ranging from the Golden Football, specially designed jewellery and ceramics donated by celebrities, to a Maserati car, classic Harley Davidson motorcycle and superbike, went under the hammer of London-based auction house Sotheby’s.

The generosity of some guests who successfully bid for the auction items saw selected lots put back into the auction for a second round of auctioning to drive up funds raised on the night. Money raised from the night easily surpassed the US$10 million raised at last year’s inaugural Reach Out To Asia Gala Dinner.

The 2006 FIFA World Cup Final football fetched US$2.4million, while an iconic piece of jewellery designed by the prestigious fashion house Boucheron went for US$3.2million.

The Emir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, graced the glittering occasion at The Ritz Carlton with his wife Sheikha Mozah. More than 500 guests attended the event, preceded by Hollywood-style red-carpet arrivals where Royalty and show business personalities mingled with guests from the sporting and business world.

The Gala Dinner was held under the auspices of The Heir Apparent, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, whose sister Her Excellency Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani chairs the non-profit making Reach Out To Asia initiative launched by the Qatar Foundation last year.

Mr Akbar Al Baker, whose company Qatar Airways is a strategic partner of Reach Out To Asia, delivered the keynote speech where he commended the work of Reach Out To Asia, which has raised around US$20 million since its formation 12 months ago.

He expressed his gratitude to Qatar Foundation and, in particular to Sheikha Mayassa, who has personally devoted her time and energy in making the charity the success it is today.

Reach Out To Asia was launched as a long-term charity initiative to raise much-needed funds for the disadvantaged and underprivileged across Asia. From building schools and providing medical supplies for last year’s Pakistan earthquake victims, to supporting the reconstruction efforts of South Asian countries affected by the tsunami disaster, Reach Out To Asia has extended its hand of friendship to those in need.

Sheikha Mayassa said afterwards: "I am delighted that this year’s Gala Dinner proved to be yet another success with more than US$11 million raised on the night thanks to the generosity of guests digging deep into their pockets to raise money for special projects across Asia."

Australian singer Natalie Imbruglia rounded off the night with some of her hit songs and British stand-up comedian Omid Djalili kept guests entertained during the lavish evening. Guests included former England soccer managers Sven Goran Eriksson and Glenn Hoddle, together with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, fashion designer Pierre Cardin, and Middle East celebrities Carmen Lebbos, Lotfi Boushnak and Kadhem Al Sahir.

Supermodel Adriana Karembeu, with her husband Christian Karembeu, British television personality Cilla Black, 2006 Superbike champion Troy Bayliss and legendary five-times Tour de France winner Eddy Merckx were also present.

CNN International news anchorman Richard Quest was the Master of Ceremonies

The evening’s event was sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan Bank. Qatar Airways, the national airline of the State of Qatar Airways, is a strategic partner of Reach Out To Asia.


Details of the Auction which raised US$11.25million for Reach Out To Asia

2006 FIFA World Cup Final football fetched US$2.4 million. Donated by Mohammed bin Hammam. Bought by Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani for Aspire Academy

White Gold Vine jewellery set designed and donated by Boucheron fetched US$3.2million. Bought by Sheikh Abdulla Al Thani, then reauctioned to Issa abu Issa (of Salam International)

Dinner at Maxims with Pierre Cardin donated by the fashion designer; celebrity ceramics donated by personalities including Sir Richard Branson, Nicole Kidman and George Clooney; limited edition Harry Winston timepiece donated by Al Fardan Jewellery fetched US$450,000. Bought by Qtel

Collier Delilah Trouble specially-designed jewellery set by Boucheron fetched US$1.6 million. Bought by Sheikh Nawaf of Nasser bin Khaled

Classic Harley Davidson motorcycle signed by Hollywood star Patrick Swayze fetched US$800,000. Bought by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani

Italian Luxury on Wheels – Maserati Quattroporte GT Sedan car and trip to Italy donated by Al Fardan; Ferrari package day out with Ferrari Formula 1 Team donated by Jean Todt at Ferrari fetched US$2.5million. Bought by Sheikh Ahmed bin Hamad bin Rashid Al Makhtoum, then Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani

VIP hospitality package of trip to FIA European Drag Racing Championship donated by Keith Bartlett, Chairman of Trakbak Racing; Ducati 999R Superbike signed by 2006 World Champion Troy Bayliss fetched US$300,000. Bought by Sheikh Jassim bin Khalifa Al Thani

Furter reading

World Cup ball auction drive gets a flying start

QATAR Airways created history yesterday by flying the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final football which is set to raise a significant amount at the November 4 Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) charity gala dinner in The Ritz Carlton.

The ‘Golden Ball’ was given special treatment as a ‘first class passenger’ onboard Qatar Airways Flight QR005 from Doha to London Heathrow ahead of a promotional tour.

The football is set to be auctioned off at the much-anticipated Reach Out To Asia gala dinner.

Intense interest from collectors and football fans around the world is being shown in the countdown to the star-studded gala dinner with news that the official 2006 World Cup final match ball, signed by champions Italy, is to go under the auctioneer’s hammer at the charity event.

Being one of only 20 footballs made for the 2006 World Cup Final in Berlin, the ball up for auction was actually used during the historic match between France and Italy that was watched by tens of millions of soccer fans worldwide this summer.

Certified by FIFA, the name of the final stadium, the teams, the match date and the kick-off time are all recorded onto this ball.

"But what makes the match ball truly ‘one of a kind’ is the addition of the signatures of the entire Italian team including captain Canavarro, striker Materazzi, stalwart midfielder Gattuso and goalkeeper Buffon," a Qatar Airways release yesterday said.

"The ball will undoubtedly be the focus of soccer fans and collectors worldwide, particularly among the millions of passionate Italians, who would undoubtedly be eager to get their hands on such an historic piece of football memorabilia.

"Speculation about the amount of money the ball is likely to raise for the charity is widespread, as Italian football authorities are said to be keen to acquire the ball to display as an historic treasure piece," it said.

The Sotheby’s-run auction takes place during the star-studded Reach Out To Asia gala dinner. Antiques expert Henry Wyndham will conduct the auction on behalf of Sotheby’s.

Absentee bidders from around the world will be able to join in the bidding for the coveted ball, further raising the prospect of a money-spinning auction.

Celebrities, sportsmen, politicians and VIPs will gather in Doha 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 medallist 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 HH the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al- Thani and is chaired by HE Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad al- Thani.

Sheikha Mayassa has been the guiding force behind the is charity’s success, helping organise high-profile fund-raising campaigns and visits to regions across Asia to help those in need.

ROTA’s inaugural gala dinner last year, attended by former US president Bill Clinton and entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, featured an auction of exclusive items raising a staggering $10mn for worthy causes.

For this year’s event, the World Cup ball has been donated by Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam. It is part of a catalogue of exciting and exclusive lots from prestigious global brands such as Boucheron, Ferrari, Harley Davidson, Maserati and Ducatti.

Organisers expect the auction to surpass the $10mn raised last year.



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