x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Pro League clubs call for 'quality' replacements at UAE FA

Pro League club officials have called on the Football Association to waste no time electing "new faces" following the resignations of Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi, the FA president, and other board members.

A day after Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi stepped down, the other members of the board followed suit to show solidarity.
A day after Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi stepped down, the other members of the board followed suit to show solidarity.

DUBAI // Pro League clubs yesterday called on the Football Association (FA) to waste no time electing "new faces" following the resignations of Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi, the FA president, and other board members.

The FA said it would meet next Tuesday to appoint an interim committee to manage the affairs of the association until elections for the new body are held in March.

But Saif Obaid Al Khaili, the vice-chairman of the Baniyas board of directors, said the new board should be in place as early as possible so members can start planning strategies and charting a new road map for football in the UAE.

He also called for a "scientific and practical" investigation into the failures of the national team to help in the development of strong teams at both the club and national level.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the chairman of Ras Al Khaimah's Emirates club, called for "new faces" to take over the reins of football in the country.

"I believe the new board should be a mix of young and experienced professionals, and more importantly, it should be about quality and not quantity," he said.

"We need people who can take responsibility and work positively, and it would be better if they could work full-time."

Al Rumaithi resigned on Sunday following the disappointing performance of the national team in the qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup. The other members of the board of directors resigned a day later in a show of solidarity.

The interim committee is expected to be headed by the former FA president Yousuf Serkal, who is a vice-president of the Asian Football Confederation.

Other likely members are Mohammad Kamali, a member of the original Professional League Committee; Nasser Mohammed Al Yamahi, the chairman of the Referees Committee; Mohammed Matar Ghorab, who stepped down as the head of the competitions committee; Dr Salem Al Shamsi, the chief of the Players Status and Transfer Committee; and Mohammed Saeed Al Nuaimi, a member of the most recent board.

One of their first tasks will be to form a committee to prepare for the elections, which are likely to be held in March. The league season usually starts in September.

Several club officials described Al Rumaithi's departure as a big loss. Al Khaili was positive in his appraisal, and said the local clubs should bear most of the blame for the poor performance of the national team.

According to Al Khaili, the UAE clubs place their individual interests over that of the national teams, ignoring local talent in key areas and relying on foreign players.

Obaid Khalifa bin Humaidan, the deputy chairman of Dubai club, described Al Rumaithi as a "model of excellence" and blamed the failures of the national team on the inability of the players to improve themselves.

"The results of the national side do no justice to the work done by Al Rumaithi," he said. "The results have a lot to do with the players themselves and the lives they live. So I believe the new president of the FA will face a really challenging time, a very heavy burden."

Sami Al Qamzi, the chairman of Al Shabab club, said football in the country had made a "quantum leap" at the administrative and organisational level under Al Rumaithi's leadership, moving from its amateur status to professionalism and gaining international recognition.

"Al Rumaithi's decision is a big loss for football," he said. "I hope the new president will take advantage of the positive achievements during this period and, at the same time, address the shortcomings in order to take UAE football to the levels we seek, in terms of results, support and attraction."

 

arizvi@thenational.ae