No relegation in AGL for the current season - GulfToday

No relegation in AGL for the current season


Shabab Al Ahli were leading the pack with 43 points when the league was stopped. File

Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter

In a major overhaul, the UAE Pro League general assembly decided to suspend the relegation and promotion system for the current season and not crowning a new champion for the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) on Thursday.

The cancellation of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) in the wake of coronavirus prompted the decision to suspend the relegation and promotion for the 2019-20 season. The last three teams in the standings at the end of the season are relegated to the first division every year. When the league was suspended due to virus, which wreaked a havoc all over the world, seven rounds were to be spared in the AGL. When the league was stopped Khorfakkan, Hatta and Fujairah were in the drop zone. Khorfakkan were on 12th spot in the standing followed by Hatta and Fujairah in 13th and 14th places respectively.

While on the top of the standings, Shabab Al Ahli were leading the pack with 43 points followed by Al Ain in second and Al Jazira in third with 37 and 36 points respectively.

Battle for the AFC Asian Champions League (ACL) had already heated up with just two points separating four teams. However, it was already decided earlier, if the league is not completed ACL berths would be decided according to last season’s standings.

The meeting also discussed implications of the UAE Pro League’s decision not to resume the AGL. It also cited the various reasons that prompted the decision to abort the tournament such as health and safety of the players and to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

It was also cited, in line with the decision issued by FIFA preventing clubs from registering new players to replace those unwilling to extend their contracts until the end of the 2019-20 season, would result in most clubs having incomplete squads and create an unequal opportunities between competing clubs.

The postponement of the summer transfer window to September based on FIFA guidance requiring transfer windows to be opened only at the end of the 2019-20 season or within a maximum of four weeks before the end of the season, which prevents players from signing new players to compete in the rest of the 2019-20 season.

The extremely hot and humid weather in the UAE in July and August posing a threat to the health and safety of the players. The restrictions on international flights movements, with several players and coaches currently outside the UAE with no certainty about their ability to return to the UAE and join their clubs on time, especially as they would have to observe a mandatory 14-day self-isolation upon their return to the country. Players needing no less than 6 weeks of training before resuming the season following a three-month stoppage.

The AFC proposed dates for resumption of the 2020 AFC Champions League, scheduled for September 2020, which would have a severe impact on the scheduling of the 2019-20 season.

The players, who are also competing in the AFC Champions League, would have to play up to 11 matches between domestic and continental competitions in a short span of very short time just before joining the national team in the 2020 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in October, putting them under an increased risk of fatigue and injuries, negatively impacting clubs and the national team. The results of the clubs’ survey in which 12 professional clubs chose not to resume the 2019-20 season.

However, results of the Arabian Gulf Super Cup will not be affected by the decision as the tournament was already completed with Sharjah FC being crowned champions prior to the occurrence of the virus. Similarly, results of the Arabian Gulf Cup (AGC) will also not be affected are the champions were also confirmed as the competition had already been completed with Al Nasr being crowned champions.

The 2020-21 Arabian Gulf Super Cup shall take place between the 2018-19 Arabian Gulf League champions and the latest winners of the President’s Cup.

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