x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

No name yet, but draw for new season is a breath of fresh air

Professional football in the UAE gets a breath of fresh air as the draw for the 2011/12 top-flight season will be held at Dubai.

Professional football in the UAE passes another milestone on the road to normality tomorrow when the draw for the 2011/12 top-flight season is made in Dubai.

It is not yet known what the league will be called in the coming season, nor under what logo it will operate, but we should know in what order the 12 teams will play each other after Wednesday's events at the Intercontinental Hotel.

Just over two weeks ago, the entity known colloquially as the Pro League and formally as the UAE Football League was dissolved by the Government and control of the league given to the Football Association.

The interim committee appointed by the FA to look after the league has had little time to prepare for the coming season, and Saeed Gaffar Hussain, the chairman of the committee, has several times stressed that the public will see few outward changes in the operations of the league.

The draw is a midsummer highlight for the top flight, attracting executives from each of the 12 clubs as well as FA officials and representatives of sports councils.

The interim committee has expressed an interest in condensing the 22-game league schedule.

Last season, the league began on August 26 but did not end until June 5. The hope this season is to start in late September and end in May, though World Cup qualifying matches for the national team and the Under 23 Olympic team could present scheduling hurdles.

If the national team later this month qualifies for group play in World Cup qualifying, they will have six matches from September 2 until February 29.

The Olympic team will play six times from September 21 to March 14.