Abu Dhabi: UAE Pro-League clubs have a unique practice when loaning their players to other domestic clubs; the contract carries a clause that prohibits the loaned players from playing against their former clubs in official domestic competitions.
That is why Hazza Salem, Saif Mohammad, Bandar Mohammad and Hamad Rafie, who were included in Al Dhafrah’s squad for their last league match against Al Ain, did not play against the Garden City club because they were loaned by them. However, until the last moment Al Dhafrah’s head coach Dzemal Hadziabdic did not seem to be informed by the club’s officials that the players couldn’t play against their former club. On realising this inside the opponents’ stadium, the Bosnian coach was reportedly angry, leading to his absence from the press conference following his team’s 7-0 loss.
“The contract was clear and it is not our club’s fault that the four players did not play.” Mohammad Obaid Hammad, supervisor of Al Ain club, said yesterday. “In fact, our club did not do anything and the decision on the players was taken by Al Dhafrah officials.”
It might not be morally correct to prevent loaned players from playing against their former clubs, but as both clubs have signed contracts, they need to abide by them. However, coaches should be informed in order to avoid embarrassing last-minute situations.
The UAE FA should interfere to prevent such situations because playing against their former teams is always a motivation for loaned players to excel. A clause like this also reduces the chances of players getting playing time.