The new football season was scheduled to have started from Thursday (September 3) with opening rounds of the Arabian Gulf Cup. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: The UAE Football Association (UAE FA) has announced the postponement of the start of their 2020-2021 football season.

A statement issued by the UAE Pro League on Wednesday said: “The UAE Pro League has decided, in coordination with the UAE Football Association, to postpone the start of the 2020-’21 season to October 2020.

“The decision follows consultations and coordination with the relevant UAE authorities. The new fixture dates will be announced at a later date.”

The new football season was scheduled to commence from Thursday (September 3) with the opening rounds of the Arabian Gulf Cup. The opening round of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) was scheduled to kick off with matches the following week (September 9-10) before the four qualifying UAE clubs departed for their group fixtures of the 2020 AFC Champions League scheduled to be held in Doha, Qatar from September 13.

League champions Sharjah had qualified for the AFC Champions League along with Shabab Al Ahli, Al Wahda and Al Ain in the four groups being played in West Asia.

Earlier this year, the UAE FA had scrapped all football activity for the remainder of the season following the suspension of the AGL even before the season was complete due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The football authorities had been primed for the restart of the season when the statement announcing a further postponement came late on Wednesday. The authorities had announced a deal for the introduction of the new ‘Nike Flight’ ball this season. The ball has been developed after eight years of investigating the consistency of a football flight by the Nike Equipment Innovation Lab, with more than 88 athletes participating in testing 68 different iterations.

This was followed by the UAE Pro League announcing a two-year strategic partnership with Rixos Hotels, part of the Accor Group, to be their official hospitality partner on Tuesday. The agreement worth Dhs 2 million (Dhs 7.2 million) aligns with the Pro League’s efforts to diversify partnerships and sponsorships in a way that best serves the interests of Emirati football.

However, late on Wednesday, the UAE Pro League made the announcement to postpone all football at least till October. “The new dates will be announced at a later time,” the announcement said.