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A Fine Way to Run a League

April 2nd, 2015 · No Comments · Arabian Gulf League, Football, soccer, UAE

If you are planning to coach or play in the Arabian Gulf League, the top level of UAE soccer, you may want to get this written into your contact:

The club will pay any fines assessed on you.

This is a country that loves to fine soccer coaches and players.

The fines are issued by the Football Association’s disciplinary committee, and they apparently have never seen an infraction they didn’t think was worthy of a fine. Sometimes big ones.

A year-plus ago, Majed Naser, the national team goalkeeper, was fined Dh200,000 (about $54,000) for spitting in the direction of a game official. (He also was banned six months.) Both penalties were reversed on appeal.

This week, the disciplinary committee really got busy.

Al Ain and Al Ahli, mortal enemies at this moment in history, had another contentious meeting, last week, with Ahli winning 1-0 in the Super Cup, which pits the previous season’s winners of the league and of the President’s Cup.

It ended in chaos, which of late is not unusual for a match involving these two teams.

Mohammed Abdulrahman, Al Ain midfielder and brother of Omar Abdulrahman, the country’s best player, lost his composure when the referee didn’t notice (or didn’t detect a foul) when the ball went off the hand of an Ahli player in the box.

Mohammed charged the ref and bumped him more than a little. He was red-carded.

His punishment? A four-game ban and a Dh50,000 fine.

But that only begins to tell the tale of the disciplinary committee and this 1-0 Ahli victory.

An Al Ain board member, the first-team manager and the team manager (not the coach) were fined Dh20,000, Dh20,000 and Dh2,000, respectively, for verbal abuse.

It gets better.

Al Ain was fined Dh50,000 for the actions of its fans, who threw shoes on the pitch (they also threw bottles, but the shoes were singled out for punishment) to show their displeasure at the referee. And Al Ain was fined another Dh10,000 for the verbal abuse their fans gave to officials.

Al Ain also was dunned Dh5,000 for failing to come out on time for the second half.

Ahli didn’t escape unscathed.

Their coach, the Romanian Cosmin Olaroiu, was fined Dh30,000 for verbal abuse (he was fined Dh200,000 about 18 months ago for leaving Al Ain and moving to Ahli, illegally, perhaps), and the team was fined Dh5,000 for being late to the second half.

The total from the Super Cup game?

Nine fines for a total of Dh192,000. (Plus, the four-game suspension of Mohammed Abdulrahman.)

That’s a busy disciplinary committee.

They also did a bit of finger wagging, too. If Al Ain’s fans are naughty any time soon, they face further sanctions, the committee said — which at this point would be the loss of a home match or two, which would be a very big deal, indeed.

Or maybe the disciplinary committee would simply make it a really big fine.


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