Dubai: Sharjah and immediate challengers Shabab Al Ahli Dubai garnered full points as 13-time champions Al Ain led an outcry against implementation of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) as the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) went into a two-week international break.
Round Seven of the AGL produced a few interesting results with heavyweights Al Wahda and Al Ain dropping vital points against Al Wasl and Bani Yas, respectively.
Sharjah managed to keep their leadership and Shabab Al Ahli Dubai continued their chase in second.
But much of the focus this week was on the “recurring questionable decisions from referees and their failure to deal with VAR technology”, as pointed out by Al Ain.
“VAR is basically adopted to establish the principle of justice and fair play but this technology has cost the club a lot and resulted in losing seven points till date,” an official statement from the club announced after being held goalless by Bani Yas.
Al Ain have further pointed out that they get a feeling that they are competing against an opponent and VAR at the same time. “There is an overt imbalance in the use of VAR technology,” the statement pointed out.
“We are not speaking out against the repeated mistakes alone, but just endorsing that the club that has contributed so much to this country will not play the role of an apathetic spectator in the UAE sporting system,” the statement insisted.
Al Ain have also called on the UAE Football Association (UAE FA) and the Professional League Committee (PLC) to try and improve the referees’ performance in the use of VAR. “This technology has fulfilled its desired goals, but it has been different in our league,” the statement said.
“VAR is harming the referees’ performances and this raises concerns whether we are properly using state-of-the-art technologies that are meant to keep pace with development of football around the world,” it wondered.
“The UAE FA and the PLC have to protect member clubs, players and the national teams from such mistakes that are being committed by referees who do not complete mastery on the use of VAR. Clubs have been allocating huge budgets to achieve their goals so that the nation can portray its name on the international sphere. But when we have such instances, we tend to see that the damage exceeds mere loss of points during matches,” the statement added.
Results: Bani Yas 0 Al Ain 0; Al Dhafrah 0 Shabab Al Ahli Dubai 1; Al Nasr 2 Kalba 0; Al Jazira 0 Sharjah 2; Fujairah 0 Hatta 1; Ajman 1 Khor Fakkan 1; Al Wahda 2 Al Wasl 2.
Standings with points: 1. Sharjah (19); 2. Shabab Al Ahli Dubai (16); 3. Al Ain (14); 4. Al Nasr (13); 5. Al Jazira (11); 6. Al Wahda (10); 7. Ajman (8); 8. Al Wasl (8); 9. Hatta (8); 10. Bani Yas (7); 11. Al Dhafrah (7); 12. Kalba (6); 13. Fujairah (6); 14. Khor Fakkan (3).