OPL start postponed to September 13 after clubs’ request

The start of the Omantel Professional League (OPL), which was scheduled for August 19, was on Wednesday postponed to September 13, primarily following requests from five of the 14 participating clubs.

The decision was taken by the Oman Football Association (OFA) following a meeting with offcials from 11 clubs at its headquarters in Seeb on Wednesday.

Confirming the decision, Saleh al Farsi, the OFA's vice-president, told Muscat Daily, “We had a positive meeting with the clubs' representatives. We had received requests from five clubs to reschedule the OPL. They are reigning OPL champion Al Arouba, Fanja, Al Nahda, Saham and Sur. We called for a meeting with all the OPL clubs and after a lengthy discussion today, we agreed to set a new date for the start of the league.”

Al Khabourah, Al Suwaiq and Muscat couldn't attend the meeting as their representatives were not in the country.

The emergency meeting was chaired by Sheikh Naif al Marhoon, OFA vice-president, and attended by Sheikh Shabib al Hosni, OPL chief executive, Sultan al Zadjali, OFA general secretary and chief executive, Ahmed al Habsi, chairman of the OFA competitions committee, and Mohammed Saifuddin Abu Bakar, OPL technical consultant.

“There have been a few developments with the regional events as well. The 23rd Gulf Cup has been postponed by a year and the GCC Clubs' Cup has been pushed back from October to early next year. Also, the national team is busy with the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and is currently undergoing a camp for the September 3 and 8 matches against Turkmenistan and Guam, respectively. Looking into all these developments, we agreed to reschedule the OPL,” said Farsi.

Meanwhile, the Super Cup, the traditional curtain-raiser for the domestic football season featuring OPL and His Majesty's Cup winner Al Arouba and HM's Cup runner-up Fanja, will be moved from August 14.

A new date has not yet been finalised, but OFA sources said it is likely to be held on August 19. A final decision will be taken at the meeting of the OFA's competitions' committee on August 12.

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