OPL champion Arouba pulls out of Super Cup; OFA says match is on

The start to the domestic football season has been jeopardised with Al Arouba pulling out of the Super Cup, the traditional curtain-raiser, on Wednesday. 

The defending Omantel Professional League (OPL) and His Majesty's Cup champion cited non-payment of dues by the Oman Football Association (OFA) and a late release of its players from national and army team camps as the main reasons behind the club's decision to pull out. Al Arouba was scheduled to take on Fanja for the Super Cup crown at the Seeb Sports Stadium on Friday with the kick-off at 7.30pm.

But on Tuesday, Sheikh Abdullah al Mukhaini, the club's chairman, shot off a letter to the OFA, conveying its decision to skip the Super Cup in protest.

Following a meeting of the OFA competitions’ committee late on Wednesday, the OFA responded with a terse letter to the protesting club, stating that the Super Cup match would go ahead on schedule. In case Arouba fails to turn up for the game, Fanja would be declared winner by default and an OFA disciplinary committee would then decide on Arouba’s pullout.

Arouba chairman Sheikh Mukhaini told Muscat Daily, “We will not take part in the Super Cup. There are many reasons for it. We had been promised by the OFA that dues amounting to RO87,000 will be cleared and our players would be released early from national and army team camps. Both did not happen and my team is not ready for this match.”

The club chief, however, clarified that his team would go ahead with its OPL matches as scheduled. The OPL will get underway on September 14.

Sheikh Shabib al Hosni, the OPL's chief executive, told Muscat Daily, “It is frustrating for us to see that some clubs are repeatedly rescheduling the domestic fixtures. Representatives of Arouba were present during a meeting held a couple of weeks back to decide on a new date for the Super Cup. At that time, it was decided to move the Super Cup from

August 14 to 21, while the OPL's start was postponed from August 19 to September 13. All the clubs’ representatives had agreed to the new schedule. And now Arouba backs out. It is not the best way to start our season.”

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