Trouble brewing as Abu Dhabi giants Al Wahda and Al Jazira collide over Mourad Batna transfer

Matt Jones - Editor 15:56 04/08/2019
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Batna pictured with Jazira CEO Ayed Mabkhout.

Abu Dhabi giants Al Wahda and Al Jazira appear to be on a collision course with the UAE Football Association over Moroccan playmaker Mourad Batna – who was officially unveiled as a Jazira player on Saturday, only for Wahda to claim he is still under contract with them.

The Pride of Abu Dhabi issued a press release on Saturday morning announcing the arrival of Batna, 29, on a free transfer. He spent two seasons across the UAE capital at Al Nahyan Stadium after his summer 2017 arrival – notching an excellent seven goals and eight assists in 20 Arabian Gulf League games during his debut 2017/18 campaign with the Clarets.

He scored eight goals last season despite only featuring 11 times as he and the club fell out. He featured in just four games in 2019.

Jazira’s unveiling of the talented forward provoked an angry response from Wahda on Saturday evening, with the club labelling the deal “invalid” and claiming Batna had extended his contract for another season at Al Nahyan.

Through a series of announcements on their Twitter feed, Wahda said: “Al Jazira Club announced on its official account with the signing of Moroccan player Mourad Batna.

“The Board of Directors of Al Wahda Football Club confirms that Mourad Batna is linked to a contract with Al Wahda Club and extends for the 2019/20 season and is registered in the Emirates Football Federation and that the club still has the player’s card.

Batna on his Wahda unveiling two summers ago - the club claim he remains under contract.

Batna on his Wahda unveiling two summers ago – the club claim he remains under contract.

“Thus, the signing of the player to Al Jazira Club is considered invalid and is contrary to the rules of the UAE Football Federation, where the player may not transfer to any club except with the consent of Al Wahda Club.

“The Board of Directors confirms that it will resort to the judiciary and the law to preserve its rights after the announcement of the contract with the player without agreement with Al Jazira and follow the proper procedures for the mechanism of negotiation and contracting.”

Batna was quoted in the statement released by Jazira as saying: “I am excited for my new journey with Al Jazira and am eager to join my new team-mates at the pre-season camp in Netherlands.

“I look forward to working with Jurgen Streppel and his coaching staff and playing good football with my new colleagues.

“Al Jazira has some of the best local and international players in their team with a world-class infrastructure and one of the best football academies in the region.

“I look forward to being part of the club’s commitment to compete at the highest level in all the games they play and I promise the fans to bring them joy through our performances.”

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