Arabian Gulf League clubs to face La Liga opponents in UAE
UAE, Spanish clubs to face off
Arabian Gulf League clubs could be staging friendlies against Spanish La Liga outfits in the UAE as early as December after a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between both parties at the UAE Football Association (UAE FA) office in Al Khawaneej here on Thursday.
As well as friendlies, the two parties will also share their knowledge and experience in both technical and administrative fields of football.
Suhail Al Areefi, chief executive officer of the Pro League Committee, organisers of the Arabian Gulf League, said talks would begin in August with a view to bringing matches to the region this winter.
“Of course our clubs are always looking to communicate with such teams,” Al Areefi said. “Now we have means through La Liga and this agreement. And we can start organising games in two months ahead of December.”
Fernando Sanz, director general of La Liga’s Middle East and North Africa (Mena) office, which is based in Dubai, added that as well as friendlies, two La Liga teams could also play matches against one another in the region.
“We will try to bring friendlies to the region, but we also have programmed matches between La Liga teams, and one of the important places to play such matches is the UAE and we will try to work hard to organise such matches,” he said.
Al Areefi said Spain’s La Liga was a natural partner, but didn’t rule out similar agreements with other national leagues.
“We have options to make contact with other leagues but today we are mainly interested in La Liga. La Liga is the best and most noble league in the world and we will look for ways to bring Spain closer to the UAE and our region.”
Sanz said the deal was La Liga’s first with a foreign league and said he hoped it would be mutually beneficial.
“We are very proud of this agreement and hope it helps create closer ties between these two countries. We have the same passion, which is football. But we have huge work to do to help football develop.
“We opened our first office outside of Spain in the UAE two years ago, which shows we believe in this country.
“We are a very good league but it is always very important to learn from other countries and leagues.”