x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Debate over Football Association presidential appointment

Speaking at election campaign launch, Al Falahi adviser claims presidential rival breached rules.

Abdullah Hareb Al Falah, centre, speaks in Dubai. Photo Courtesy of Cicero & Bernay Public Relations
Abdullah Hareb Al Falah, centre, speaks in Dubai. Photo Courtesy of Cicero & Bernay Public Relations

DUBAI // The legal adviser to Abdullah Hareb Al Falahi, the former Al Wasl chairman running in next month's Football Association presidential elections, has accused Yousef Al Serkal of breach of regulations and plans to report the FA's temporary head to Fifa if he does not voluntarily terminate his election campaign.

Al Falahi and Al Serkal are the only two candidates running in the May 16 presidential election, with the latter having taken the position of interim chief last year following the resignation of Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi and his entire board of directors.

But during an explosive outburst yesterday at the official launch of Al Falahi's election campaign, Salem Hadeed, the head of the former Wasl player's legal committee, claimed Al Serkal has broken several FA and Fifa statutes. He claimed Al Serkal should "never have been appointed".

Clause 25 of the UAE Rules and Regulations states that an outgoing FA member cannot be re-elected to the same position for at least two four-year terms. Al Serkal's previous tenure as president of the FA ended in 2006, meaning, according to Hadeed, that he cannot be reappointed to office until 2014.

"When the FA was dissolved last year, an Extraordinary Annual General Meeting was held," Hadeed said. "The UAE FA Rules and Regulations says only those attending an AGM are allowed to changes the rules. In fact, Clause 64 clearly states it is not permitted to negotiate rules and regulations at an Extraordinary AGM. Yet it was at this Extraordinary AGM that they changed this elective rule."

It is understood that both Abdulah Al Bishr, the chief executive of Al Wasl, and the representative of Al Wahda objected to the rule change, but were overruled. Hadeed's allegations are the first indication that the imminent presidential elections will not be good-natured. "What differentiates me from the opponents is the manner of the way we are organised," Al Falahi said.

"Another difference that is very important is very thorough work - unusual for a campaign like this - is being done through the committees. This is a totally new approach and proves we are all about change."

Hadeed added: "A letter detailing the breach of regulations and making clear Yousef Al Serkal is not eligible to be elected according to Clause 25 and what happened at the Extraordinary AGM will be submitted to the UAE FA and the elections committee. If it is not acted upon, the same letter will be sent to Fifa".

Al Serkal was last night not available for comment, but is expected to respond publicly in the coming days.

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

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