x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Peace in Pro League

The UAE Football League and their seven dissenting clubs have made peace following a general assembly meeting of the UFL on Thursday night.

The UAE Football League and their seven dissenting clubs have made peace following a general assembly meeting of the UFL on Thursday night. Al Ahli, Al Sharjah Al Shaab, Al Wasl, Al Nasr, Al Shabab and Al Khaleej had asked for an extraordinary general assembly of the UFL to call for a no-confidence motion against some officials of the association over some contentious decisions. The meeting, however, led to a reconciliation between the differing sides, especially after a presentation by UFL officials about the success achieved by the league in the last few months and the efforts that are being made to improve the workings. The UFL officials stressed their efforts had led to the Pro League being ranked fifth in Asia by the AFC, and they vowed to continue their hard work and achieve more success in the future. The club representatives expressed their confidence in the league and pledged to provide all necessary support to the UFL through the implementation of the tasks and duties assigned to them during the coming period. The general assembly also agreed to address the concerns of the clubs and they have been asked to submit their suggestions for the amendment to UFL regulations, which will be evaluated at the end of season, by March 15. That has also been set as the deadline for the clubs to fulfil their obligations, as set by the Asian Football Confederation, under the new professional league.

"Some clubs made different proposals during the meeting, but it was agreed not to change any of the regulations for the current season," said Mohammed al Mahmood, the vice president of the Professional League Association. "They can submit their proposals by mid-March. We will study them extensively and then arrive at the best decision." One of the biggest concerns of some clubs were the fines and the strict application of penalties, but al Mahmood has dismissed those concerns. "The main objective of these fines is to ensure that the clubs stay committed to certain standards, particularly since the AFC will be sending observers to monitor the league. "This policy of financial penalty has obviously worked as the fines have come down from Dh200,000 in the first few week to Dh6,000. "We will never forgive any kind of violation that reflects negatively on the league and will cause a decline in our high ranking by the AFC." The general assembly has also fixed April 29 for election to the Professional League Association with four-year terms for the elected officials.

"The elections will be held under the full supervision of the UAE Football Association, and based on the ruled and regulations established by Fifa," said al Mahmood. "The election standards and criteria will be sent to the UAE FA for final approval and then to the clubs to nominate appropriate candidates." The distribution of UFL revenues was also discussed at the meeting and al Mahmood said: "The general assembly agreed that 72 per cent of the annual income will be distributed among the Pro League clubs, with 36 per cent [of that] being divided among the top four and the rest among the other eight clubs depending on their position in the league. "The Etisalat Emirates Cup will get 13 per cent of the annual income, the Super Cup will be given five per cent while 10 per cent will be allocated to the clubs in the First Division. The distribution will be made in the months of January and July every year from the next season. "We have also decided to entrust the auditing process to an accredited company, in addition to members of advisory committee, which also includes officials of the UAE FA." arizvi@thenational.ae