Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 1 April 2020

Coronavirus: Arabian Gulf League discuss options for return to action

Organisers waiting on direction from UAE authorities

Al Ain forward Caio, centre, celebrates scoring. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Al Ain forward Caio, centre, celebrates scoring. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Organisers of the Arabian Gulf League continue to discuss options going forward for the resumption of this season's competition, although a return to action remains some way off.

Last week, the UAE top flight was postponed with immediate effect following a wide-ranging directive by the Football Association, which suspended all football that fell under its auspices for four weeks at least, to help limit the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The league was 19 rounds into the 2019/20 campaign.

The FA doubled down on the provision on Monday, following news the previous night that Arabian Gulf League (AGL) clubs would be permitted to begin training again given players and staff passed the necessary testing for the virus.

The UAE Pro League, who organise the AGL, held a meeting by video conference call with the league's clubs on Monday, where they discussed a range of scenarios regarding the league's immediate future.

Rumours the AGL might restart on April 15 have been quickly quashed, with organisers not willing to advance with any plans without first taking direction from the relevant authorities in the UAE.

Last Thursday, the General Authority of Sports announced the suspension of all sports activities, including tournaments and competitions, effective immediately. The decision was the latest in a succession of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Thanking the UAE authorities for their continued efforts to contain the spread of the virus, league CEO Waleed Al Hosani told the clubs: “We are full of pride with our wise leaders.

"It is our duty as officials and decision makers to abide by all the directions received. Protecting people and the UAE society is our top priority; everything else is second to that.

“I advise you to ensure the safety of everyone at your clubs: players, staff and fans.

"We are at a time of huge challenges and circumstances that have impacted the entire world, not just the UAE. We have to stand together to overcome this situation successfully. I am full of confidence in you and your efforts to serve the nation.”

With seven rounds left to play in this season’s AGL, Shabab Al Ahli lead the table, six points ahead of second-placed Al Ain.

Updated: March 25, 2020 10:51 AM

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