OFA suspends 11 dissenting clubs

Club representatives at the consultative meeting organised by OFA on Saturday (Supplied photo)

Muscat - 

An acrimonious tussle between the Oman Football Association (OFA) and several domestic clubs has resulted in the suspension of 11 dissenting clubs, five of which currently play in the Omantel Professional League (OPL).

Sunday’s action, the harshest by the national federation in Oman’s football history, is being called a message to the clubs to follow statutes.

The suspended clubs are Bausher, Seeb, Dhofar, Fanja and Musannah (all five play in the OPL); Ahli-Sidab, Al Kamil W’al Wafi and Nizwa (first division league); Ibri, Jaalan and Al Ittefaq.

The clubs have been charged with violation of OFA’s statutes after calling for an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on March 17 without the federation’s go-ahead, on Saturday.

Speaking exclusively to Muscat Daily, Saleh al Farsi, vice chairman, OFA said, “As the 11 clubs have breached Articles 28/2 and 28/3 of OFA’s statutes, which say an EGM can only be called by the governing body and not the clubs, we are forced to take this harsh decision. It’s a tough decision, but we needed to send a strong message to the clubs - they have to respect OFA’s board and its statutes.”

The last time OFA took such punitive action was in 2012 when three clubs - Seeb, Oman and Muscat - were suspended for taking legal action against it over the board elections.

Farsi said the 11 clubs have till Monday night to either respond to the charges or withdraw their letter seeking the March 17 EGM.

If the clubs fail to respond by the deadline, their suspension will continue till March 28, when OFA holds its annual general meeting (AGM) where the matter will be reviewed once again.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that at a closed-door meeting late on Sunday, the protesting clubs took into consideration the larger interest of the players and the forthcoming AGM and are likely to call off the demand for an EGM.

Sheikh Saif al Khalili, president of Bausher Club told Muscat Daily, “We were aware of the repercussions when we called for an EGM, but we did not expect OFA to suspend us so soon, although we knew it would happen eventually.”

He added, “This is a long fight, but we don’t want to harm the interests of the players. As the domestic competitions are in their final stages, the suspension would mean the teams will be ineligible to play, which would harm the players’ careers and clubs’ progress in different domestic and GCC competitions.

“Another reason for pulling back is the forthcoming AGM, where the absence of 11 clubs would make it too easy for the OFA board. We are in for a long battle and the best way to continue fighting is to do it democratically. That is why we are likely to take back the letter seeking an EGM if all the clubs agree to it by tomorrow morning.”

Muscat Daily had first reported on Sunday that the clubs had called for the March 17 EGM without OFA’s sanction.

At the meeting, the dissenting clubs had admittedly planned to seek a no-confidence motion against the OFA board and its chairman Sayyid Khalid over various issues.

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