The UAE Pro League conducted on Wednesday, June 30, the 2021-22 Arabian Gulf League and Arabian Gulf Cup draw at Rixos Premium Dubai JBR Hotel.
Attending the draw were UAE Pro League Chairman Abdulla Naser Al-Jneibi, UAEPL board members, representatives of official authorities, partners, and club representatives. Media representatives and a number of guests of honor were also in attendance.
The draw ceremony witnessed honoring a number of important and inspirational figures, including late UAE international Salem Saad, late media figure Emad Othman, and former player Ahmed Al Akberi who continues to inspire everyone after recovering from injury following a serious accident. Although Al Akberi no longer plays football, he will always remain a part of Emirati football.
UAE Pro League board member and Chairman of Technical Committee Hassan Taleb Al Marri honored Seif, son of late player Salem Saad while UAEPL board member Mohammed Obaid AlYamahi honored Amr, son of media figure Emad Othman. UAE Pro League Chairman Abdulla Naser Al-Jneibi honored former UAE Olympic team and Al Wahda player Ahmed Al Akberi.
The draw started with the Arabian Gulf Cup, with the participation of the three guests of honour. The competition, which kicks off on October 15, will see Arabian Gulf League champions Al Jazira and Arabian Gulf Cup titleholders Shabab Al Ahli receive a bye to the quarter-finals.
The draw saw Ittihad Kalba pitted against Al Orooba in the qualifying round of the Arabian Gulf Cup, with the winner set to face Al Jazira in the quarter-final. Al Ain will clash with Emirates Club, and the winner will lock horns in the quarter-final with the winner between Bani Yas and Al Wasl.
Sharjah will clash with Ajman, and the winner will face Shabab Al Ahli in the quarter-final. Al Nasr will face Al Dhafra, with the winner set to play in the quarter-final against the winner between Al Wahda and Khorfakkan.
Next up was the turn of the Arabian Gulf League, set to kick off on August 19. The draw was conducted through the smart match scheduling system for the first time in an initiative that aligns with the UAE’s technological advancement and the UAEPL’s 2020-2030 strategic plan. The innovative system proved successful as the draw was conducted quickly and smoothly, according to the approved technical procedures.
Scheduled for August 19 and 20, Matchweek 1 of the Arabian Gulf League will see titleholders Al Jazira get their campaign underway against Al Dhafra. The opening matchweek will also see Emirates Club host Shabab Al Ahli, Al Orooba welcome Al Wahda, Al Nasr travel to face Ajman, Khorfakkan host Al Ain, Al Wasl travel to face Bani Yas, and Sharjah host Ittihad Kalba.
QR code schedule
The UAEPL shared a QR code on the screen that attendees can scan with their phones, bringing them directly to the fixtures schedule. The initiative provided attendees and media representatives with easy and quick access to the schedule on their mobile phones and avoided paper usage in line with the precautionary measures. The schedule is also available on the UAE Pro League social media platforms and official website.
Al-Jneibi highlights football’s noble message
UAE Pro League Chairman His Excellency Abdulla Naser Al-Jneibi hoped the draw ceremony would mark a stepping-stone to the success of the 2021-22 season. He added that the new season comes with new challenges and big aspirations, as we seek to achieve more successes after an exceptional season, which was marked by several achievements. We overcame the Covid-19 pandemic, thanks to the vision of the wise leadership and efforts of the first line of defence and all members of society. The success wasn’t limited to the professional competitions, as the UAE was the destination for major sports events on the continental and international levels, proving that nothing is impossible in the UAE.
Al-Jneibi thanked UAE Football Association Chairman Sheikh Rashid Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi for his continuous support to the UAE Pro League competitions. He also thanked all the partners in the success of the exceptional season and wished success and good luck for all clubs.
Al Jneibi confirmed that football has a noble message, and it is more than just a game. He said, “today, we renew our appreciation to all those who helped develop Emirati football and send a message of loyalty to all those we lost. They, however, left us with moments that will remain engraved in our memories.”
To view the Arabian Gulf League schedule, click here