ABU DHABI // Starting the season almost three weeks earlier than last year and reducing the number of games in the Etisalat Cup were among the plans put forward at the Pro League Committee's (PLC) Calendar Workshop in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
The event was attended by coaches, team managers and representatives from all Pro League clubs except Al Shabab, Ajman, Al Shaab, Dibba Al Fujairah and Kalba. Mahdi Ali, the UAE national team coach, was also present at the Rocco Forte Hotel.
The 2013/14 UAE season would kick off with the Super Cup on August 30 - it took place on September 17 last year - followed by the first Etisalat Cup games on September 3 and 4, with the opening round of Pro League beginning on the 14th.
The PLC have given the clubs the full calendar and they now have 48 hours to raise concerns.
"Everyone in the room had the same objective, which was to raise the level of football in the UAE, be at the club level, be at the league level or be at the national team level," Pro League chief executive Colin Smith said.
"Sometimes it is inevitable in pursuit of this objective that there are some different interests which have to be managed, and today was the opportunity for all parties to discuss and raise any comments they have."
The PLC has backed the request of the national team for more preparation days before matches and will also give clubs in the Asian Champions League plenty of space between games.
The season has to be completed by May 18, 2014, at the request of Fifa, with the World Cup in Brazil kicking off June 12.
Meanwhile, the former Liverpool, Lyon and Aston Villa manager, Gerard Houllier, was a special guest at the PLC's Professional Players' seminar, attended by players from the five Abu Dhabi clubs.
Baniyas striker Mohamed Aboutrika also took part in the panel discussion, with the Egypt international advising his Pro League colleagues to commit fully to their training schedule, set a good example on and off the pitch, and be grateful for the fortunate position in which they find themselves.
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