The Football Association has increased capacity for matches to 80 per cent, allowing more fans to attend the UAE’s upcoming World Cup qualification double-header.
The new directive, which marks an increase from the previously allocated 60 per cent capacity, applies to various international and local competitions, including national team matches, the Adnoc Pro League, the First Division and various women’s and beach soccer tournaments.
The FA made the announcement on Tuesday, two days out from the UAE’s crucial third-round qualifier against Iran in Dubai. The second of the two Group A qualifiers, against Iraq, follows on October 12, also at the Zabeel Stadium. The decision to increase the allowed attendance was made in coordination with the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority.
As stated by the FA, attendance will be available to those who show through the Al Hosn app that they have received a third dose of Covid-19 vaccines approved in the UAE, or those who have not yet completed six months from their second dose. However, attendance remains available only to those aged 16 and above.
Spectators wishing to attend matches must also present a negative PCR test result taken within the past 48 hours. The FA said safety measures at the stadium, such as wearing masks and social distancing, must be adhered to.
With the international break, the Adnoc Pro League will not resume until October 21. There have been six rounds played to this point, with unbeaten Al Ain sitting top of the table, one point above champions Al Jazira and two ahead of third-placed Sharjah.
The Pro League Cup will, though, begin this week in the league’s absence. The first set of fixtures take place on Friday, with another two matches on Saturday. Shabab Al Ahli are the current holders having defeated Dubai rivals Al Nasr on penalties last season.