SUPER CUP: Fanja takes title; Al Arouba faces sanctions for no-show

The Fanja players with their club officials after receiving the Super Cup trophy on Friday (V K Shafeer/Muscat Daily)

It was an expected outcome on Friday - Fanja winning the Super Cup without kicking a ball

Al Arouba, the defending champion of the Omantel Professional League (OPL) and the His Majesty's Cup, didn't turn up for the traditional curtain-raiser, against Fanja, at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex.

Following a brief mandatory wait past the 7pm kick-off time, the referees awarded the match to Fanja in a farcical start to the domestic football season.

As first reported by Muscat Daily last week, Arouba had decided to skip the match in protest against the Oman Football Association's (OFA) stance over a scheduling dispute and a payment wrangle.

The club eventually kept its word. Ahmed al Habsi, a senior board member of the OFA, was present at the venue to hand over the winner's trophy to Fanja.

With the OFA having rejigged the Super Cup and OPL schedules to suit the demands of some of the top clubs, including Arouba, the national association decided to confront Arouba for its decision to skip the game.

Throughout the crisis, the OFA's competitions committee had been adamant that the Fanja-Arouba Super Cup match would go ahead, with the defaulting club now facing the prospect of heavy sanctions.

Muscat Daily has learnt that the OFA's disciplinary committee as well as its board will take Arouba to task.

An OFA official said, “It will not just be the disciplinary committee that will punish Arouba, but the OFA's board, too, has decided to impose heavy fines. We need to send a strong message to the clubs that the governing body cannot be taken for a ride.”

The OFA functionary added, “The club should have informed us at the meeting that was held a couple of weeks ago, during which new dates for the Super Cup and the OPL were finalised. Arouba's club chairman Sheikh Abdullah al Mukhaini was himself present at that meeting. Everyone at that time had agreed to the new schedules. But with just a couple of days left for the Super Cup, he sent us a letter saying the club cannot play. It's not done.”

Arouba had on Tuesday announced its pullout from the match. The club claimed that the OFA hadn't released payment amounting RO87,000 that has been pending. Arouba's other grievance was that the OFA was too late to release the club's players from national and army team camps.

The quantum of punishment, most likely in fines, may be announced in the coming days.

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