Al Wasl keep CAS option open as they request UAE FA to rethink on Hugo Viana

The FA decided this week to prevent the late enrolment of five players who were signed by clubs after the transfer window’s official deadline.

The fate of Hugo Viana is up in the air after Al Ahli traded him out but his new employers Al Wasl have been been denied his services. AFP
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DUBAI // Al Wasl have labelled the Football Association’s ruling to prohibit the registration of Hugo Viana an “injustice” and are preparing to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to overturn it.

The FA decided this week to prevent the late enrolment of five players who were signed by clubs after the transfer window’s official deadline, which closed midnight on October 2.

Those affected are Viana, who moved from champions Al Ahli, Mohammed Nasser and Saeed Suroor at Baniyas, Fujairah’s Ahmed Ibrahim, and Ahmed Jumaa at Al Shaab, the Division One side.

Despite the clubs’ failure to meet the initial deadline, the FA’s Commission on the Status and Transfer of Players autonomously granted a two-hour extension, which the governing body later rescinded. Nasser Al Yamahi, the commission’s chairman, has since resigned.

The confusion prompted the FA to seek Fifa’s advice, although world football’s governing body deemed it an internal FA matter.

A vote for an extension to the transfer window – to allow the registration of the five players – was held last week among the 14 top-flight clubs. Two objected, which upheld the FA’s original stance.

Wasl have threatened to take the case to CAS, the Switzerland-based final arbiter of sports disputes, and are waiting for a response from Yousuf Al Serkal, the FA ­president.

Should Al Serkal sign the tendered proposal, the issue will be reviewed internally during a seven-day period. Wasl then have 21 days to appeal to CAS.

The Dubai club’s frustration is accentuated by the fact they field only three foreign players, instead of the allotted four, since they released Brazilian Neto Berola in anticipation of the Viana deal being processed.

Should Viana not be made available, Wasl hope to be able to again play Berola.

Wasl accept their late move for Viana was regrettable, citing the complicated nature of a trio of interconnected transfers involving Nasser, the Wasl striker, moving to Baniyas and Carlos Munoz switching from the Abu Dhabi club to Ahli.

“Some media have said the club are responsible and that is simply not true,” said Mohammed Al Amri, a Wasl board member.

“We did everything by the book. Right now, the FA’s decision making is very slow, so we’re playing matches with three foreign players, which is unacceptable.

“The FA’s main principle is equality for all clubs, but it’s not equal rights. With all respect, this is an injustice for Al Wasl. The FA said the players shouldn’t participate with their teams, but they don’t have the right to say that.

“The FA are responsible for the registration, but we’re the ones who sign the contracts with the players. It is the club’s decision to change our player.”

Wasl’s main grievance is that the FA rejected the player transfer commission’s extension. The club contest that, under Chapter 7 of the commission’s rules and regulations, the chairman has the right to adjust the deadline without seeking endorsement from the FA general secretary.

Effectively, it means Viana’s registration should have been pushed through.

Wasl have told the FA that they are willing to go to CAS and are confident the issue will be resolved in their favour. They would not speculate on how long their case will run.

“We don’t know anything about any solutions or proposals, but we’re maybe talking about compensation, and will go through legal channels to get it,” Al Amri said. “The FA have their consultant and we will have ours. Our right is strong legally, so we don’t have anything to fear. We have all the correct documents.

“We’re going to CAS and waiting for their opinion. We’ve suffered financial damage, technical damage and damage to our fans also. Maybe the FA say they made a mistake, but now they can register the player and give us his card. We don’t know what they’re waiting for – for the club to lose more games or for the fans to turn again.”

Al Amri suggested Wasl’s unhappiness reflects deeper problems in the FA.

“Too many clubs are not satisfied with the FA, not only Al Wasl,” he said. “There are too many problems, too many mistakes, but now is not the time. We must support our national team at the Gulf Cup and then, after, we can talk about these issues in our general assembly.”

jmcauley@thenational.ae

TIMELINE

October 2/3

9:30pm – Mohammed Nasser’s transfer to Baniyas is back on. The Wasl striker had been negotiating with the Abu Dhabi club that afternoon, following initial discussions three weeks previously, but Baniyas spend the next few hours trying without success to contact the player and his agent.

10:57pm – Wasl send fax to FA requesting to release Neto Berola and swap him with Hugo Viana.

11:30pm – Viana arrives at Wasl, together with his agent, and the two parties thrash out the details of a one-year deal.

11:56pm – Al Ahli officially contract Carlos Munoz, although they do not release Viana until 12:05am.

11:57pm – Viana signs contract. Wasl then discover, through a member of the FA speaking on television, that the midfielder was still not registered.

01:29am – Having for some time tried to register through the FA’s official transfer system – the system was closed from 12am – Wasl receive email from the FA’s IT department informing them of an extension to the deadline, ratified by the transfer commission. The window would now close at 2am.

October 5

Wasl receive message from FA requesting they do not play Viana until the governing body confirm his registration. Angered, Wasl respond to the FA to ask to make Viana available for selection. Wasl repeat the request on October 8 and 10.

October 21

Having sought Fifa’s advice, the FA receive a reply for football’s governing body saying the matter should be dealt with eternally.

October 26

FA prohibit the late registration of five players: Viana, Nasser, Saeed Suroor (Baniyas), Ahmed Ibrahim (Fujairah) and Ahmed Jumaa (Al Shaab), after two of the 14 Arabian Gulf League clubs vote against an extension. The decision means the players cannot be made available until the next transfer window opens in January.

October 29

Wasl approach the FA to formally notify the governing body of their wish to take the case to CAS. They request the FA respond within 24 hours.

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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