UAE may end up with no warm-up ties for Asia Cup
The UAE Football Association (UAEFA) will pursue compensation after Kuwait cancelled a friendly against The Whites at the last minute on Saturday.
Kuwait took exception to the fact the behind-closed-doors friendly at the Robina Stadium on Australia’s Gold Coast couldn’t be filmed by their technical staff and refused to play in protest.
Nabil Maaloui’s side then stayed on the pitch and started an impromptu training session instead. The stadium owners turned on the sprinklers to get the team off the pitch, but then they retreated into other areas of the stadium, locking themselves into changing rooms and continuing training sessions on surrounding indoor pitches.
Kuwait only left the stadium under the threat of arrest after the police were called.
An agreement not to film the match, which was supposed to be a warm-up to January 9-31’s Asian Cup in Australia, was signed by both parties upon arrangement of the game on December 15.
The UAE could have a case for compensation to accrue travel and hotel costs in preparation for the friendly, according to UAE Football Association Acting General Secretary Mohammad Hazzam Al Daheri. However, their first priority was to arrange a replacement friendly just five days before the start of the tournament.
“Our priority is to look at the technical side of things first and then we will look to the legal,” he said. “Until now I cannot tell you if there is a legal issue, we will go back to the contract. There are accommodation and travel losses, but resolving the technical loss is more important than the financial at this stage.
“Usually with a friendly there is no pre-match agreement [to cover losses in the event of a no-show], but in the beginning such an occurrence was thought to be out of the question. An incident like this has never happened to the UAE and Kuwait are our neighbours so we never expected this.
“I don’t think we will be able to arrange a replacement friendly in time as the Asian Cup kicks-off on Friday and now there is no time,” he added.
UAE FA President Yousuf Al Sarkal said he was saddened by the incident, but urged it not to affect relations between the two country’s federations. “We work on a federation to federation basis and don’t consider individual acts as big issues,” he said. “We consider them as incidents that come and go, but the relationship between the UAE and Kuwait will last forever.
“I am sorry that both sides missed a good preparatory match, this is no joke to cancel such an important game. But as much as it was important for us, I believe it was more important for them. They have a new coach and it is important for him to play as many matches as possible before the tournament to get a hand on his team. We don’t know what the Kuwait coach was thinking, only he can answer this question.
“For us it also has a negative effect, but we will work to organise a replacement friendly and if we can then fair enough, but if not, I don’t think it’s a big deal.”