Al Nahda fined, docked nine points in OPL for skipping Dhofar game

Defending Omantel Professional League (OPL) champion Al Nahda was on Sunday penalised by the tournament's disciplinary committee for failing to turn up against Dhofar in an OPL match at the Al Saada Sports Complex in Salalah on December 11.

The committee headed by Hamad al Hadhrami found Al Nahda in violation of the competition rules. It handed the result of the abandoned match in favour of Dhofar and docked Nahda a total of nine points - three for skipping the December 11 fixture and six more as penalty. The reigning champion was also slapped with a fine of RO500.

Nahda is currently in tenth place in the OPL this season and the punishment has severely dented its chances of retaining the title.

Speaking to Muscat Daily on Sunday, Sultan al Zadjali, the Oman Football Association's (OFA) CEO, said, “The disciplinary committee acted as per the OPL's rules and regulations. Al Nahda has the right to appeal the decision.”

The controversy erupted after the referee of the OPL game delayed the 8.15pm kick-off by half an hour since the ground had been hosting a first-division game. But Al Nahda refused to take the field, protesting the referee's decision to delay the game. The match had to be called off.

Sultan said, “According to the OPL's competition rules, a referee can delay a match by up to 45 minutes due to any compelling reasons. As this match was late by only 30 minutes, Al Nahda should have played.”

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