Under-21 league to replace Reserve League next season in UAE

The Pro League Committee yesterday decided to shelve the Reserve League and replace it with an under-21 league for next season.

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DUBAI // The Pro League Committee on Sunday decided to shelve the Reserve League and replace it with an under-21 league for next season.

The decision was made at a meeting of the PLC's board Sunday night, where they also agreed to reduce the number of Emirati players that can be registered by Arabian Gulf League (AGL) clubs to 22 players over the age of 21 and 23 players under the age of 21, in addition to the four foreign players. This season, clubs were allowed to register as many as 69 players for the AGL and the Reserve League.

“This proposal was studied by our committees and we have decided to adopt it,” said Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi, the chairman of the PLC.

“We believe this decision will increase the trading of players between clubs and help the competition grow.”

The PLC also announced that from the start of the 2014/15 season there will be five on-field officials for all AGL matches, with Al Rumaithi saying referees will be instructed to clamp down on the time-wasting tactics adopted by teams.

“I believe we had a good season, but we want to increase the competition and improve the technical level of our players,” he said.

“If you look at the average playing time in the league, it is around 40 minutes.

“There was one game where they just played 17 minutes of football in the first half.

“We want to change that and our target is to make sure we start playing [at least] 65 minutes and the referees will be co-ordinating with the Referees Committee to make sure that happens.”

Al Thani also said no decision had been made about the encryption of matches for next season.

“We will study the matter after the end of the season, look at the positives and negatives, and then decide accordingly,” he said.

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