x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Ahli want transparency

The controversy surrounding Tariq Ahmed's potential transfer has angered Al Ahli, with the Pro League champions demanding transparency.

Al Ahli's Ahmed Khalil, right, is likely to train at Chelsea.
Al Ahli's Ahmed Khalil, right, is likely to train at Chelsea.

DUBAI // The controversy surrounding Tariq Ahmed's potential transfer has angered Al Ahli, with the Pro League champions demanding transparency from the UAE Football Association (UAE FA). Football's governing body in the country had this month invited bids for Ahmed, an Al Sharjah player, with Ahli stepping in to offer Dh1 million for the player.

Reports claimed they were the only club to make a bid at all, but the "Red Knights" received a letter from the UAE FA last Wednesday that said Ahmed was valued at Dh10m, and that they were required to up their bid. "We would just like to request the UAE FA to be transparent on the issue and put all the papers in front of the media and club officials," said Khalifa Sulaiman, chairman of Ahli's board of directors yesterday.

"We want to know what has happened. We want the UAE FA to write to us, letting us know about all the developments. We are in an era of professionalism and there is a need for transparency." Sulaiman said he believed the UAE FA failed to follow procedures over the issue, hoping any oversight be rectified. "We made our bid in time, in a sealed envelope. As per the rules, they should have opened this envelope in front of the media and club officials," he said. "They should have shown all the bids received for the player. But that did not happen. They have not informed us about the result of this auction [either].

"We know only what we have heard from the media, and we hear talks of an exchange now. I would like to know how an auction has turned into an exchange." Reports suggest Al Ain came into the picture later and offered Sharjah's Ahmed Darwish - valued at Dh15m - in exchange for Ahmed. "After the first letter, when they announced the auction, they did not come back to us with any official letter," added Sulaiman.

"Now they have fixed the player's price at Dh10m. How have they arrived at this figure? "They did not explain the criteria for fixing his price. They just said 'you have to pay this much, 70 per cent of which will go to Sharjah club'. "Tariq has not played for the last two years. Is he worth that much? Why did they not reply to us officially? We did not hear anything from the UAE FA, except what we heard from the media."

While aggrieved by UAE FA's decision, the club have ruled out taking the matter to Fifa. "We have full trust in the UAE FA and the president, Mohammed Khalfan al Rumaithi," said Sulaiman. "We want to solve this issue inside the country. We care about football in the country and we don't want to spoil the name of UAE football outside. "There have been a lot of procedural mistakes in this case and we will fight for our rights. We will continue to contest this decision within the rules."

The UAE FA were uavailable for comment yesterday. Meanwhile, Al Ahli have also been caught up in the confusion over a potential transfer of Ahmed Khalil to the English Premier League club Portsmouth. Officials of the Dubai team have denied receiving any calls from Portsmouth or by their prospective new owners. Sulaiman al Fahim, who has made a bid for Portsmouth which is under due diligence, was quoted by Arabic newspaper Al Bayan, as saying: "Once we have completed the [Portsmouth] deal, I will start serious negotiations with Al Wahda and Al Ahli clubs to bring Ahmed Khalil and Hamdan al Kamali to the English league. I just hope that the two players will be able to pass their medical tests and be able to play next season."

Al Fahim, a board member of Hydra Properties, later denied making any such statement, telling the Arabic newspaper Al Khaleej that he was just "expressing his admiration" for the two Emirati youngsters. Officials at Ahli were also puzzled by the frenzy created by al Fahim's earlier statement. "There has absolutely been no contact with us," Sulaiman said. "Anyway, I did read in the papers that Fahim has denied making any such claims."

A statement allegedly made by Khalil, however, added to the confusion when he was quoted saying that he would undergo a trial with Portsmouth. Ahli's chief executive officer Ahmed Khalifa Hammad later said it was a misunderstanding, adding that Khalil was in fact on his way to a four-week training session at Chelsea next month. Khalil's stint is a result of his winning the Best Youth Player title at the Asian Football Confederation's Awards night in November.

arizvi@thenational.ae