x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Pro League: FA award three points to Al Ain as Al Ahli are punished

Hosts Al Ahli critical of action of an 'individual act' but committee cracks down with more punishments to avoid repeat of the missile thrown at official.

Saturday's game, when Al Ahli hosted Al Ain, went goalless with three minutes to go when the match was abandoned. Satish Kumar / The National
Saturday's game, when Al Ahli hosted Al Ain, went goalless with three minutes to go when the match was abandoned. Satish Kumar / The National

DUBAI // Al Ain have been awarded a 3-0 victory by the Football Association's Disciplinary Committee from the abandoned Pro League match against Al Ahli, with the Dubai club also made to play their next two home games behind closed doors at a neutral venue.

The judgement, taken late last night, comes following Saturday's controversial encounter at the Rashid Stadium in Dubai, when the game was concluded prematurely after a referee's assistant was struck by an object thrown from a section of the stands reserved for Ahli fans.

The official, Mohammed Al Mehairi, received extensive treatment on the pitch to an open wound to his head, prompting the referee, Hamad Al Sheikh Hashmi, to call an end to proceedings before the three minutes of injury time had elapsed.

At that moment the score was locked at 0-0.

The violent nature of the incident, unprecedented in Pro League history, seems to have prompted the punishment. It remains unclear if Ahli will have a right to appeal.

The club have been vocal in condemnation of the fan's actions. The police have been working to identify the person who launched the missile.

Ahmed Khalifa, the Ahli chief executive, told The National earlier this week: "This is completely against the laws and the spirit of the game, and something we never expected to happen in a match here.

"There was nothing to suggest it would end in such a tragic way.

"Of course, there are sometimes comments regarding the officials' performance, but to harm them physically and actually draw blood on the pitch opposes any sportsmanship and the notion of fair play.

"The club and UAE community does not accept such behaviour."

The incident has provoked much debate since Saturday, with Yousuf Al Serkal, the FA president, on Monday stating any type of violence had no place in UAE football.

"The incident that happened recently, fortunately it is new to our football, but it is very regretful," he said.

"I'm disappointed we have such an incident from our spectators but, the way I look at it, it happened from an individual, it was not a riot.

"So that makes it only an individual act, although a very unfortunate one. It's an incident that we can deal with. It happened. We will not neglect it. It might happen again, so we will try carefully to make sure we don't have it again in our stadiums."

The venue for Ahli's next two home league matches - against Al Wahda and Ajman - has yet to be decided.

As a result of the ruling, Quique Sanchez Flores's side remain third on 39 points.

Al Ain, however, see their lead at the top of the table extended to 11 points with six games remaining.

Ahli and Al Ain each were hit by two-game bans near the end of the 2010/11 season; Ahli were stripped of two home matches when supporters threw water bottles at Al Ain supporters on May 8; Al Ain were punished for "verbally abusing" an Al Wasl player on May 20.


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