x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Al Nasr face Asian Champions League exit before playing

Club official is confident fresh application for licence to play in Asia will be approved after failing to meet AFC guidelines.

Al Nasr, in blue, have five days to re-organise themselves.
Al Nasr, in blue, have five days to re-organise themselves.

DUBAI // Al Nasr are in danger of losing their place in the Asian Champions League next year after their initial bid for a club licence was turned down, but officials are confident they will make the grade after a reassessment by the Pro League Committee.

Only those clubs with a licence from their national associations are eligible for participation in Asian Football Confederation competitions from 2013 onwards and just five UAE clubs - Al Shabab, Al Wahda, Al Ahli, Al Ain and Al Jazira - met all the required criteria and were granted a licence on Sunday.

The clubs whose applications were turned down have five days to appeal against the decision and these will be heard by the First Instance Body on October 29.

Nasr are reassembling their paperwork for the appeal and are confident their fresh application will be accepted.

"It's just paperwork, nothing to do with the club infrastructure," said Fahad Hadi, a member of the Nasr board. "It's all paperwork. Some old issues that we need to close, just wrap it up and that's it. So it is a small issue, not that big issue.

"We have received the letter from the Pro League Committee explaining the reasons why our application was not approved. The club is working on those issues right now and I think by tomorrow or within the next two days, everything will be settled. We will appeal and will participate in the Champions League."

According to Khalid Obaid, the team manager, one of the issues was a release letter for Rodrigo Vergilio, who was replaced by Luca Toni during the January transfer window. The Brazilian striker is now playing for Al Shaab.

"When he left the club, we should have presented a release letter," Obaid said. "This is something that every club needs to do now. There are no issues. He is playing for Al Shaab now and we will present this letter and close the matter.

"We have good relations with all our players, nothing to worry. We are confident we will be playing in the Champions League."

The AFC has issued a basic set of guidelines for national associations to follow while issuing club licences. The requirements have been divided into three categories - A, B and C - and it is mandatory for all clubs to meet the category A conditions to get a licence.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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