Representatives from the football community, including the UAE FA, the Interim Pro-League Committee and the 12 professional football clubs, attended the Official Draw today at the Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City, where the schedule of matches for the upcoming 2011/2012 season was determined.
The new season will kick-off on Saturday September 10, 2011 with the annual Etisalat Super Cup, which will feature Etisalat Pro-League winner Al Jazira and 2011 President’s Cup runner-up Al Wahda.
The first round of the Etisalat Cup competition will then follow on September 15 & 16, 2011, and will once again consist of two pools of six teams with Semi Finals and Finals at the end of the season.
The first round of matches for the highly anticipated Etisalat Pro-League competition will kick-off the following month in October 2011. The majority of rounds will take place over two match days, predominantly on Thursdays and Fridays or Fridays and Saturdays.
“With the Official Draw conducted and the match schedule finalised, we can now look ahead to the upcoming season and nine months of exciting football,” said Mr Abdulla Al Junaibi, deputy chairman for the Interim Pro-League Committee. “There has been a number of significant signings in the off-season and the clubs have been working hard in preparation so fans can expect to see some high quality football.”
The deputy chairman of the Interim Committee said that the competitions for the next season will commence on September 15th with Etisalat Cup due to national duties during that period and this competition will help the players and the teams to prepare well ahead of the launch of the Etisalat Pro-League in October.
Mr Al Junaibi reiterated that the Committee was keen to ensure the national team had enough time for adequate preparation, without any direct effects on the League schedule. He pointed out that there will be no long breaks in the League as has happened in the previous season which had a negative impact on the performance of the teams and the overall standard of the competition.
“The professional league is entering its fourth season, and over the last three seasons we have gained valuable experiences through hard work to develop the system of professional football in the UAE. We believe that we are on the right track and would like to assure everyone that next season will be even better than previous seasons," said Al Junaibi.
Finally, Mr Al Junaibi thanked all of the sports leaders and officials for their support of the professional league and their role in contributing to the success achieved thus far. He also thanked the partners of the Pro-League - Etisalat, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Audi, Abu Dhabi and Dubai Sports Channels - along with the media who have played an outstanding role in making the professionalism process a success.
The 2011/2012 season will run for a total of nine months and will finish on May 6, one month earlier than the previous season. The competition will feature two new teams, Ajman and Emirates Club, following their promotion from the First Division after the relegation of Kalba and Al Dhafra from last season’s Pro-League.