Friday, June 02, 2006

Al Ahli is struck out of AFC Champions League

Al Ahli FC, the new UAE league champions from Dubai received bad news as they celebrated their triumph after a gap of 26 years. The Asian Football Confederation has confirmed that runners-up Al Wahda and not Al Ahli will take part in next year's AFC Champions League as the Dubai club will be serving the second year of their two-year suspension.

With Al Ain booking one of the two berths to the 2007 AFC Champions League after winning the President's Cup earlier in the season, Al Ahli looked to have booked the second berth after their 4-1 win in the play-off over defending champions Al Wahda last Friday. However, AFC clarified that the two-tournament ban on Al Ahli was still in place. Al Ahli incurred the two-tournament ban and a $94,500 fine after they refused to travel to Uzbekistan to play Neftchi Fergana in their final Group C match of the 2005 Champions League citing 'security concerns'.

On appeal, the fine was reduced to $54,000 but the suspension was upheld, meaning that Al Ahli will not be eligible for the 2007 AFC Champions League and Al Wahda will join President's Cup winners Al Ain in next year's edition of the event, M. Satya Narayan of the Gulf News reported.

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