The northern Batinah club, Sohar, may become the second team to withdraw from the forthcoming 2020-2021 Omantel League season after Fanja pulled out of the top-tier league.
Sohar Chairman Eng Ibrahim bin Abdullah al Maqbali tweeted from his personal account: “Appeals panel did not fair Sohar team as they decided not to award the Asian licence to the club. The club had settled its financial issues and closed the chapter through Fifa channel prior to the agreed deadline. We will have an urgent board meeting to review the decision and study different proposals including freezing the footballing activity in the club”.
Sohar club had started preparation for the new season under the supervision of coach AbdulRazaq Khairi. The team ended a preparatory match on winning note against Al Suwaiq 3-2 while they suffered a 1-0 loss in the first warm-up game against Al Rustaq.
Sohar had ended their campaign at the Omantel League 2019-20 season in the 11th position with 32 points. The team had nine victories, 12 losses and five draws.
Earlier, Fanja club confirmed their absence in the top-tier league. The reasons behind Fanja’s pullout was the financial issues along with lack of communication between the club, Oman Football Association (OFA) and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth.
After Fanja’s decision, the OFA decided to promote Oman Club to Omantel League as a replacement for Fanja’s position.
Al Oruba team had complained against the OFA saying they deserved to be in the top-tier league unless their four points were not deducted over breaking the medical protocol. Al Oruba’s official stated that there is no clear clauses on deducting points for a reason of breaching of COVID-19 safety protocols.
The OFA is gearing up to kick off the new season as the Omantel League will begin on December 17 while the First Division League will begin on December 19.
Fourteen teams will compete in the Omantel League including Seeb, Dhofar, Al Nahda, Al Nasr, Bahla, Muscat, Al Suwaiq, Saham, Al Rustaq, Sohar, Oman Club, Al Musannah, Nizwa and Al Ittihad.
At first division league, the 17 participating teams will be distributed into three groups. The first group comprises Ahli Sidab, Mirbat, Bausher, Salalah and Samayil. The second group features Jalaan, Sur, Al Taliah, Masirah, Al Oruba and Al Ittifaq. The third group includes Majees, Al Shabab, Ibri, Al Khabourah, Al Mudhaibi and Al Bashayer teams.
All the teams in all groups will play two legs and top eight teams will qualify to the second phase of the league. The team with the maximum points will be declared winners after the second phase.