Abu Dhabi: The first women’s football league in the UAE was officially launched on Tuesday, with the competitions for Under-13 and 16 girls with eight teams in each category, which will kick off on February 21.
“February 14 will be a historic day in the sports movement of our country because in this day, the first-ever women’s football league was launched,” Tilal Al Hashimi, Vice Chairman of the Women’s Football Committee, said in a press conference held at the premises of the UAE FA on Tuesday.
Ali Jasim, the Director of the Schools Sports Association, Amal Bu Shallakh, Secretary General of the WFC, Musallam Ahmad and Alya Al Housani, both members of the WFC were also present.
"The women's league will be organised by cooperation and support of the UAE FA, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the UAE Schools Sports Association. It will start with the under-13 and under-16, with eight teams from the different educational zones in the country competing," Al Hashimi said.
“We, at the WFC, have been planning and working for this competition for a long time and we are grateful for the great help and support we found from the UAE FA, Schools Sports Association and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council. The WFC will supervise all the competition with the help of the FA and according to the rules of competition applied in the domestic football competitions in the UAE," he said.
“The WFC has prepared 17 women referees who will help in officiating the new league, which will kick off from February 21 and will be contested in a two round home-and-away format.” Al Hashimi added.
“Each team will register 20 players, 15 of them should be Emirati and the other five expatriates. We were keen to start from the schools because we wanted to start from the bases. There will be a champion for each of the two rounds of the competition and an overall champion for both categories, the under 13 and under 16,” said Ahmad, the chairman of the WFC Technical Committee.
“The matches will be held in the morning and all the families of the players are allowed to attend the matches. The matches of the first round will be held in Ajman stadium and the other matches at Al Ahli Club in Dubai while the final round will be held at the Abu Dhab Armed Forces Officers Club grounds. The matches of the under 13 will be from 40 minutes divided into two halves while the matches of the under 16 will be from 50 minutes divided into two halves with a break between them in both categories,” Ahmad said.
Ahmad explained that the WFC has decided to organise competitions for under 13 and 16 because the AFC organizes continental competitions for thest two age groups. “We are hoping to launch a league for women next month with the cooperation with the UAE Universities General Association,” Ahmad said.
The teams competing will be representing the educational zones in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, Al Fujairah and Al Ain.