Dubai: The 2020-21 domestic football season of the UAE is all set for kick off from October 8.
The UAE Football Association (UAE FA) and the UAE Pro League announced late on Tuesday saying that the re-scheduled season will kick-off with the opening rounds of the Arabian Gulf Cup on October 8.
This will be followed by the preliminary qualifying matches of the UAE President’s Cup, meant only for Division One clubs, on October 9.
“The decision comes after a series of coordination meetings with the competent authorities in the country,” the statement said.
“The UAE Football Association and the UAE Pro League will issue the schedules and dates of matches for all the football competitions within a sufficient period to allow the clubs to be optimally prepared for the new season’s competitions,” the statement added.
The draws for the Arabian Gulf Cup have already been made with Kalba scheduled to meet Al Jazira, while former champions Shabab Al Ahli Dubai will take on Al Dhafra in their Round One matches.
The AGL draws are also ready with last year’s runners-up Shabab Al Ahli Dubai travelling to Kalba, while Al Wahda host Hatta and defending champions Sharjah away in Fujairah in their opening round fixtures.
The new season was scheduled for a start with preliminary round matches of the Arabian Gulf Cup on September 3-4 followed by the start of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) the following week. The UAE FA made a last-minute announcement, barely 24 hours before kick-off, that all competitions had been postponed till further notice.
Al Wahda, one of the teams scheduled to travel to Doha for their Group A matches of the AFC Champions League in the first half of the month, pulled out of the continental competition at the last minute after a few of their staff tested positive for coronavirus.
Former champions Al Ain and AGL champions Sharjah bowed out of the AFC Champions League at the group stages, while AGL runners-up Shabab Al Ahli Dubai advanced to the Round of 16 where they lost 4-3 on penalties to Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli, last week.
“The Football Association is grateful to the clubs for their commitment and adherence to the application of the approved protocols to preserve the safety of members of the technical and administrative bodies, players and workers of the football sector,” the statement concluded.