Dubai: Al Ain have won their appeal after being denied a licence to compete in Asia and can now play in next year’s Asian Champions League, it was announced on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, the Pro League Committee’s (PLC) First Instance Body rejected licence applications from Al Ain, Shabab Al Ahli Dubai, Bani Yas, Dibba, Kalba and Hatta.
Al Ain were the most affected by the decision because it meant they would have been ruled out of next year’s Asian Champions League, missing the tournament for the first time in five years.
However, the decision got reversed on appeal, and the 2003 Asian champions, who finished runners-up in 2005 and 2016, can now feature in next year’s tournament.
Bani Yas also won their appeal, but after being relegated from the Arabian Gulf League last season, they were never in consideration for Asia anyway. A statement from the PLC’s appeal committee said the committee met on Monday (October 30) in the presence of chairman Talal Al Hashemi, financial member Mohammad Al Harthi, legal member Mohammad Abdul Murshid and the club development and licensing team.
It stated the committee considered appeals from Al Ain, Bani Yas, Hatta, Kalba and Dibba. Newly-merged Shabab Al Ahli Dubai have yet to be in existence for the required three years, so aren’t eligible for Asia.
The committee accepted appeals from Al Ain and Bani Yas, said the statement. However, decisions on Kalba, Dibba and Hatta were upheld, but fines imposed by the First Instance Body were reduced.
An earlier clarification from the PLC said that all clubs were given adequate time and help to complete the licensing process and that the First Instance Body and Appeals Committee were independent of each other and the PLC and domestic league committees. The PLC also reiterated its support to developing the game in the UAE.