Many Gulf News readers claim to have seen children playing either cricket or football in parking lots. Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News

Sharjah: Playing cricket or football in green or undesignated areas will attract a Dh500 fine for each player, Sharjah Municipality said on Sunday.

Mohammad Ali Al Kaabi, head of the City Cleanliness Section at Sharjah Municipality told Gulf News that a team of 50 municipal inspectors are working daily to keep Sharjah free from litter, prevent people from damaging public green spaces and hanging laundry on balconies.

The violators will also have to pay the cost of the damage to public property. When violators are caught, their ID card is taken away and a fine is issued. They are then required to visit the municipality’s customer service centre with the ticket and pay the fine to get their ID cards back. If the violation is repeated, they need to sign an undertaking stating they will not do it again.

Playing football or cricket at undesignated areas such as green spaces will result in a fine of Dh500 for each player, he said.

He was responding to a complaint from Gulf News readers who said the municipality inspectors fined them for playing cricket in Al Taawun area.

Nine people were fined Dh500 each for playing in a place not designated as a public park to play cricket or football.

Gulf News readers Jenin John and Ajay said a total of nine players were fined Dh4,500. “Two men from Sharjah Municipality came and said we have to pay fine for playing at an undesignated are. Later, I checked there was an article in civic body’s law on Dh500 fine for playing on grass and we were playing on a sandy patch in Al Taawun area in Sharjah. Just imagine Dh4,500 fine for playing cricket in desert. Those guys (municipality inspectors) are taking advantage as none of us knew Arabic. They just took our ID cards and fined us. This is not fair to fine someone for playing sports and at a time when UAE is supporting fitness and sports activities.”

Al Kaabi said the group comprising nine men were caught playing cricket in an undesignated area near Sharjah Chamber and Commerce Department and Expo Centre. The municipality inspector gave them verbal warning to leave the area and play at a designated area but they moved to another undesignated area and started playing there.

They were playing near the main road, if the ball went to the road, they might cause a road accident. It was not a safe place for such sport.

There are several places allocated for residents to play cricket and practise other sports, Al Kaabi said.

Sharjah Municipality is working hard to provide safe places to people to practise their sports, he said