x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Al Ahli seek closure on Jaja in bid to save points

The Dubai club ready to settle dues of Ukraine's Kharkiv, where the midfielder plays now.

Jackson 'Jaja' Coelho left in December of 2011 but never came back. Mike Young / The National
Jackson 'Jaja' Coelho left in December of 2011 but never came back. Mike Young / The National

ABU DHABI // Al Ahli, the runaway Arabian Gulf League leaders, have assured fans that the club’s legal team are working with Fifa and the Football Association to help avoid a three-point deduction.

Ahli, who are six points clear at the top of the AGL after seven games, are facing the penalty because of a dispute surrounding the purchase of former player Jackson Coelho, better known as Jaja, which led to Fifa, world football’s governing body, becoming involved.

Jaja, who is now with Ukraine’s Metalist Kharkiv, left Ahli in controversial circumstances in December 2011, when he sent club officials a text message from the airport saying he was returning to Brazil to deal with a personal issue.

The midfielder who had a three-year contract having signed for Ahli from Turkish club Trabzonspor for €4.5 million, did not play for the club again.

However, according to Fifa, Ahli owe Kharkiv – for whom Jaja played before his Ahli spell as well – €30,000 (Dh149,280), and Fifa wrote to the FA recommending a points reduction as punishment. The Dubai club, though, are confident they can pay the outstanding money and avoid losing points.

“We are communicating with Fifa and the UAE football federation to look into the penalty,” said a statement on Ahli’s website. “Al Ahli hasn’t received any decisions from the Fifa disciplinary committee regarding this issue. The amount due for settlement is €30,000. “We reassure Al Ahli fans that the club’s legal administration is seriously working to resolve this unforeseen issue, and we confirm that the club is fully committed to any decisions from Fifa and the UAE Football

Association.”

If they did lose points, it would be the second consecutive season that has happened. In 2012/13, Ahli’s 0-0 draw with Al Ain was awarded as a 3-0 victory to the Abu Dhabi club after a referee’s assistant was struck by an object thrown from the stands reserved for Ahli fans. Ahli were forced to play two games behind closed doors.

twoods@thenational.ae

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