Dubai Al Wasl fans staged a short walk-out during their 1-1 draw away to Al Nasr on Thursday night in protest against the Etisialat Pro League disciplinary committee’s latest ban.
The club have only played once at home in the last three months after being forced to play six ‘home’ matches at neutral venues because of alleged crowd trouble.
I would like to make a plea to the highest authority to look into this latest two-match ban and support us. Neither Al Wasl’s team, nor the club’s fans, did anything to deserve these sanctions and I hope to get support for this
And on Thursday it was announced Al Wasl will also have to play their final two designated home games — against Al Wahda on May 6 and Al Ahli on May 27 — at Al Nasr’s Al Maktoum Stadium.
Many at the club feel the Zabeel outfit have been dealt an unfair hand and on Thursday fans unveiled banner that read: “Zabeel Stadium is a fortress and Al Wasl are the pride of the league. If you ban us we’re just going to walk away. Is this what you want the stadiums to look like?”
They then walked out, temporarily halving the attendance of 6,870.
The supporters returned, but only in time to see Al Nasr’s Leo Lima hit a superb 33rd-minute equaliser to cancel out Wahid Esmail’s seventh-minute header.
Ironically, it was the home Al Nasr fans who lit flairs and threw toilet roll on to the pitch in celebration of the wonder strike — exactly the reason why Al Wasl have faced frequent sanctions.
Al Wasl manager Diego Maradona said: “I count myself to be the biggest Al Wasl fan and yet another two-match home ban — on top of four already this season — is unfair. I urge the disciplinary committee to review this and give those two games back to us to play at home.
“I would like to make a plea to the highest authority to look into this latest two-match ban and support us. Neither Al Wasl’s team, nor the club’s fans, did anything to deserve these sanctions and I hope to get support for this.”
Maradona had earlier said: “I may be responsible for some of the losses this season, but it is also disappointing to have other factors affecting our performance such as home bans, especially when the reasons behind those bans are so suspect.
“These are small things we are getting punished for as a club but, when other things happen against us, like people attacking my wife, there’s not a single voice of support from anyone in authority. This is something that is both a hinderance and a disappointment.”