x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Baniyas avoid suspension as FA steps in to settle player rows

The Football Association intervenes over Fawzi and Zehran issues with Baniyas, resolving both issues.

Mohammed Fawzi, above, and Hassan Zehran both had to go through the FA to help settle contract woes with Baniyas.
Mohammed Fawzi, above, and Hassan Zehran both had to go through the FA to help settle contract woes with Baniyas.

Abu Dhabi // Baniyas officials breathed a sigh of relief last night after resolving a double issue with the Football Association over an outstanding seven-figure compensation payment for a national team player and settling the contract of one of their former players.

Threatened with suspension from the league, club executives were summoned to a disciplinary hearing at FA headquarters in Zayed Sports City at 5pm, Thursday in a bid to negotiate a compromise for the payment due to be paid to Al Ahli and Ittihad Kalba over the transfer of Mohammed Fawzi.

The national team midfielder signed for Baniyas on a free transfer from Al Ahli in 2010 but because he was under the age of 21 - he turned 22 last month - Baniyas are obliged to make solidarity payments to his former clubs, according to FA rules.

The FA originally set the fee, to be split between Al Ahli and Al Ittihad, who Fawzi left in 2007, at Dh3.5million but Baniyas felt the amount was "at the high end".

Baniyas had also been slow in settling the contract of Hassan Zehran. They terminated his deal last year and allowed him to join Dhafra but the left-back still had two years left on his contract at Baniyas. He claims he is owed Dh1.2m.

The subsequent negotiations in both cases have led to a protracted delay and the FA's Disciplinary Committee had to intervene and threaten action on Wednesday.

Saif Al Khaily, the Baniyas deputy chairman, the chief executive Nidal Abo Roza and board member Sohail Alamri held discussions with Dr Khalid Mohammed Abdullah, the FA's acting chief executive, and Yousef Al Serkal, the FA chairman, yesterday morning in an attempt to avoid possible suspension from the league.

They then returned in the evening to face an FA Disciplinary Committee who accepted their proposal of paying Dh1.2m to Al Ahli, Dh500,000 to Ittihad Kalba and settling the claim with Zehran who was in attendance.

"It's all sorted now," Abo Roza said. "All the charges have been dropped and we have paid all the dues. Definitely we are pleased."

Abdullah confirmed Baniyas had been issued with a threat of sanction on Wednesday.

"The club were informed yesterday [Wednesday] they would be suspended from all football activities," Abdullah said.

"We have held discussions today [Thursday] we will look at it and I hope there will be a window for a solution. It is most important we solve these cases and solve it. The club have shown initiative that they will settle it."

Abo Roza said earlier the club had learnt of the possible sanction via social networking websites.

"We received nothing formally in writing from the FA but we heard on Facebook and Twitter that they will ban us from football," the Baniyas chief executive, said. "This wasn't conveyed in a formal way and our discussions have not been based on that news."

Abo Roza said the club's intention had always been to "settle this with the Federation amicably".

"They wanted training compensation and we felt the compensation was at the high end and we have been working to find a solution between us," Abo Roza said. " The FA have been very co-operative."

Last month Baniyas launched a bid to improve their revenue streams and boost attendances by signing a deal with Big Shot Sports Contracting worth Dh10m.

Al Ahli have been the subject of another compensation dispute this week, with David O'Leary, their former manager, taking his case to Fifa.

kaffleck@thenational.ae