Pro League could increase number of teams in 2012/13

The number of foreign players in the clubs' line-up also up for reconsideration during the UAE Football Association meeting.

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ABU DHABI // A majority of the Pro League clubs have recommended a maximum of four foreign players including one from Asia for next season and were in favour of increasing the number of teams in the top flight from 12 to 14.

The recommendations were made by representatives of the clubs during a workshop hosted by the Football League (UFL).

"The idea is to bring the clubs together to discuss and listen to their proposals and recommendations, then debate and then possibly implement them for the betterment of the sport," said Dr Tariq al Tayer, the chairman of the UFL.

"The majority of the clubs want the three-plus-one rule where clubs can field a maximum of four foreign players, one of whom must be from an Asian country, as per the recommendations of the Asian Football Confederation.

"And they want this rule to be applied for at least three years," he added.

In the inaugural 2008/09 season, the UFL had a rule allowing clubs to sign a maximum of five foreign players but only three could play. They made it three-plus-one, including an Asian player, as practised in the Asian Champions League, in the following season. This season, the limit has been three foreign players.

Al Tayer said the top-flight competition will remain at 12 teams for the next season, "but we will look into the possibilities of increasing the number to 14" for 2012/13. The UFL also is considering a move to reduce the number of registered players in each club from 45 to 35.

Al Tayer said that by releasing 10 players the UFL clubs could save money as well as improve talent in the First Division.