Arabian Gulf League season cancelled, decision on champions awaited

UAE Pro League and Football Association to meet on Thursday to decide implications of decision

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - May 11, 2019: Football. Sharjah fans during the game between Al Wasl and Sharjah in the Arabian Gulf League. Saturday the11th of May 2019. Al Wasl Football club, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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The 2019/20 Arabian Gulf League (AGL) has been cancelled, with an extraordinary general assembly meeting called for Thursday to determine the implications of the decision.

The UAE Pro League, who organise the league, announced the news on Wednesday following a meeting with the board of directors. The governing body will now meet with the Football Association to discuss the repercussions of the move, including whether Shabab Al Ahli Dubai, who led the league at the time of its postponement, be crowned champions.

The AGL was suspended on March 15, 19 rounds into the season, as the UAE sought to restrict the spread of the coronavirus. At the time, Shabab Al Ahli topped the standings with seven match-days left to play, six points ahead of second-placed Al Ain. A provisional date was then set in late April for the league’s resumption in August.

However, last week the AGL’s 14 clubs were asked to give their thoughts on continuing the competition, with 12 of its members reportedly in favour of cancelling the campaign. The 2019/20 AGL U-21 has also been cancelled. Shabab Al Ahli led that too.

Among the issues to be discussed on Thursday will be the impact of the cancellation on next season’s AGL. There is support to increase the competition by two clubs to 16, with Emirates Club and Dibba Al Hisn, who occupy the two lead spots in the First Division, joining the top flight. The FA governs the second tier.

Meanwhile, the President’s Cup final, initially scheduled for last month, has yet to be played. Al Ain and Al Dhafra were set to contest the showpiece, with the winner then confirmed for next season’s Arabian Gulf Super Cup - the campaign’s traditional opener - against the reigning AGL champions.


The National's AGL 2019/20 awards