x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

FA to stop another Sharjah

The UAE Football Association have drawn up tough new regulations to prevent clubs withdrawing from international competitions.

DUBAI // The UAE Football Association have drawn up tough new regulations to prevent clubs withdrawing from international competitions. According to the proposed new laws, to be presented to the FA's generally assembly tomorrow for approval, teams withdrawing from official international competitions could be fined Dh1million and banned from participating in any international tournament for three years. They could also be relegated to the lower division in UAE.

The new regulations come after Sharjah's withdrawal midway through their Asian Champions League campaign earlier this year. The club's decision had come as an embarrassment to UAE football, who have been working hard to raise their stocks in Asia. "We need to close the door on such moves by clubs in the future," said Abdullah Yousuf, the general secretary of the FA. "Sharjah had put us in a very difficult position and we had to really fight hard to keep our seats in the AFC Champions League. I don't think the AFC will be so lenient if any of our clubs do this a second time. We cannot allow it. We are in a professional era now and we need to behave accordingly."

Romy Gai, the CEO of the UAE Football League, had earlier welcomed the proposed change, saying: "This is one good thing that we will achieve from the Sharjah issue. We realise that there was a lack of rules and now we will have regulations to govern such issues." The proposed Article 91 was discussed by club representatives at a recent FA workshop and some of them have opposed it strongly, calling the penalties excessive. They have appealed to the FA for a revision and the legal committee of the FA will look into their concerns before submitting a final draft at tomorrow's general assembly.

arizvi@thenational.ae