x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Hasek is baffled by FA's efforts to ban Abbas from club duties

Ivan Hasek, the Al Ahli coach, cannot understand how Ali Abbas can be stopped for playing for his club when he was an offender with the national team.

DUBAI // Ivan Hasek, the Al Ahli coach, cannot understand how Ali Abbas can be stopped for playing for his club when he was an offender with the national team. Abbas and Subait Khater were dropped from the UAE team for last Wednesday's 2010 World Cup qualifier against Iran after breaking a late-night curfew. The UAE Football Association's Technical Committee met on Monday to discuss the issue and have recommended a fine of Dh25,000 for each player, a final warning or a one-year ban from playing for the national team and a three-match suspension from club matches.

The UAE FA are expected to make a decision today. "I don't understand this," said Hasek. "If he is suspended, he should be suspended from playing for the national team, not for his club. If Eto'o or Drogba have a problem with their national team, will they be not allowed to play for Barcelona or Chelsea? That is not possible. I agree that if he is not disciplined, he deserves to be out of the national team. I accept that. But how can you stop him from playing for the club?

"You will not see something like this in any other country." Both players appeared before the inquiry commission, headed by Abdul Wahab al Ahmad al Sabah, and apologised for their behaviour, promising not to repeat the offence. Abbas claims he was late by just 30 minutes and had gone home to drop some clothes, while Khater revealed he was forced to leave due to "compelling circumstances" in the family.

The Al Jazira player claims he had made three requests to the team management to allow him to go home, but was denied permission. "I apologise for my conduct to team and my teammates in both the national team and Jazira, and also the fans," said Khater in a statement. "I made a mistake and will accept any punishment. If the UAE FA accepts the technical committee's recommendation, Abbas and Khater will miss January's Gulf Cup in Oman and the remaining four 2010 World Cup qualifiers. Khater, however, insists he is not thinking of retiring from the international duty. "Retiring at this moment would be like escaping from the battlefield," he said. "I am against the idea of retiring due to such problems, as long as my country needs me.

"My loyalty to my country should never be in question." The UAE coach Dominique Bathenay has included both Abbas and Khater in his provisional list of 35 players for the Gulf Cup, which includes many members of the youth team who won the AFC Under 19 Championship. arizvi@thenational.ae