The UAE Football Association has rejected the registration of the five players controversially signed in the hours following the close of the summer transfer window, leaving them in limbo until January.
The board of directors met on Sunday (October 26) to make a final decision on the matter which has dogged them since chairman of the organisation’s Commission on the Status and Transfer of Players, Nasser Al Yamahi, extended the period beyond the deadline at midnight on Thursday, October 2 until 02:00.
Al Yamahi has since resigned from the position.
During that time, Portugal midfielder Hugo Viana joined Al Wasl from Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ahli, Bani Yas registered Mohammed Nasser and Saad Suroor, Fujairah signed Ahmed Ibrahim and Division One outfit Al Shaab bought Ahmed Jumaa. The quintet will now be unable to feature until registration opens again in the new year, despite being owned by their new clubs who will pay their wages without being able to select them.
The last few weeks have seen the UAE FA frantically try to solve the problem, which brought them into conflict with world governing body FIFA as it contravened Article VI of their Regulations on the Status and Transfers of Players. A vote was held by the 14 Arabian Gulf League clubs on the matter last week, with 12 supporting the decision to extend.
A delegation travelled to meet representatives from the English Premier League, while Italian legal expert Mario Gallavotti was consulted to find a solution.
These ventures were to no avail, however, with a meeting headed by UAE FA president HE Yousuf Al Serkal bringing a close to the issue.
“It has been agreed not to approve the extension of the deadline,” secretary general Mohammed Abdulla Hazzam said. “After the correspondence with FIFA and the opinion of the experts, we realised that the best option is to invalidate the registration.
“Regarding the fate of the players, the board decided to keep their registration pending with their current clubs until the next registration window while they will not be allowed to return to their respective original clubs.
“We appreciate the amount of damages that has been sustained by the clubs, but we didn’t receive any complaint from them so far. No damages would be payable except in the event of official complain that could be lodged by the said club.”
Fujairah chief executive Sultan Al Shara said they were “happy to accept” the call, Bani Yas officials were awaiting official documentation before discussing it and Al Wasl held a board meeting last night ahead of releasing a statement on Monday.
He said: “We will accept the decision, we are happy to do it. Fujairah will always support the decisions of the UAE FA.
“Ahmed Ibrahim is our contracted player. Inshallah, we will register him to play from January.”
Sport360°'s Matt Monaghan reflects on the latest round of Arabian Gulf League matches and offers his picks of the week from round three.
Player of the week
Ibrahim Diaky (Al Ain)
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. With star trio Omar Abdulrahman, Asamoah Gyan and Jires Kembo- Ekoko ruled out through injury, Diaky rose to the challenge of seeing the Boss past Emirates Club with a match-winning brace.
The 32-year-old prospered in an unfamiliar lone striking role, his second a beautiful combination of chest control and snapped volley.
Goal of the week
Luis Jimenez (Al Ahli)
Everything about Jimenez’s equaliser against Al Dhafra was remarkable – the timing, the technique and the execution.
The champions looked on course for a shock defeat, when in the 97th-minute the Chilean controlled a difficult bouncing ball with his chest to tee up an unstoppable volley that curved away from the helpless goalkeeper and flew in off the inside of the post.
Relieve it here from 40 seconds in…
Coach of the week
Fathi Al Jabal (Ajman)
Purely looking at the table, Ajman do not seem to be having a great season. But look deeper, and the fixture list shows their battle into mid-table has included matches against all the league’s big guns.
The Orange Brigade buzzed against leaders Al Wahda, coming so close to a famous win.
Coach Al Jabal has to be given immense credit for what he has achieved thus far, under the radar.
Ahli’s title defence up in the air
Al Ahli’s stroll to the title last season featured a club in complete control – lethal in attack and rock solid at the back.
The Red Knights’ attack remains in fine fettle, but the defence has disintegrated. Analysing the 10 goals conceded does not make a pretty picture.
A weakness in the air has seen six goals go in, contributing to seven dropped points. The latest was Al Dhafra’s opener in Thursday’s 2-2 draw, Ali Al Hammadi rising highest.
All future opponents would be well advised to launch as many crosses as possible and make the most of set-pieces.
Back for when it truly Matars
There was disappointment for leaders Al Wahda after seeing a secondsuccessive draw, but UAE coach Mahdi Ali can feel enlivened that Ismail Matar seems poised for a first start of the season against Fujairah on Monday.
The veteran forward, who has more than 100 caps for the Whites, looked sharper still on his second appearance from the bench after summer knee surgery.
With the Gulf Cup title defence beginning in less than a month, this run to full fitness could not have been better timed for Ali. He will now be hoping Omar Abdulrahman can, similarly, overcome his knee problems.
One day in my press conference I used the word ‘crazy’ to describe things here, and I had a lot of problems. Now I tell you something: this Arabian Gulf League season is crazy.
Leaders Al Wahda followed up their draw at Al Wasl with another against Ajman, this time it was 3-3. Champions Al Ahli cannot win games away and have not produced great performances like last season. It is never easy to play in Al Dhafra, and they needed a 97th-minute equaliser from Luis Jimenez to draw 2-2.
Last season, they played with Hugo Viana and Majed Hassan in front of the defence, but Viana has gone to Wasl and Hassan only made his first appearance of the season at Dhafra because of injury. Something different is happening there, and do not forget they lost a very important player in Ciel to a fractured ankle.
Bani Yas won 2-1 at Wasl. With two victories in a row, Bani Yas appear to be headed in the right direction, while Wasl have a lot to work on with a new coach.
Viana can’t play at the moment because of the transfer registration problems, but one player cannot solve their issues. The only player who could do that is Diego Maradona and he doesn’t play anymore.
The final result came from one big mistake from the referee for Bani Yas’ penalty, which was converted by Joan Verdu to open the scoring.
Sometimes, you get very complicated movements and it is hard for a referee and his linesmen to make the call. Fine.
But when we talk about the late equaliser for Ahli and the Bani Yas penalty, they are technical mistakes. Grafite was clearly in front of the goalkeeper when Jimenez shot.
As a coach you cannot say anything. You have to accept and hope in the future these type of things become balanced for your team.
It was a good evening for Al Jazira as they beat Al Nasr 3-2. The correct result though was a draw, as Nasr created great moments to score, especially through Renan Garcia. They come away defeated but not as losers as they showed they can make a good season.
Jazira showed they have good offensive players. Ali Mabkhout scored two, and in my opinion is one of the best attacking players in the UAE.
He was one of the most important players in my Jazira squad. I am happy for him, as it shows the hard work we did with him is getting results.
I see him, Ahli’s Habib Fardan and Al Ain’s Omar Abdulrahman as all being able to play in Europe. This is my opinion.
I would like to see them playing over there. It is my dream, as they have the quality to play outside.
When I was at Nasr with Fardan, everyone used to joke with me that he was my son. My respect for Fardan is very high.