The decision of the Asian Licensing Committee in the Saudi Professional League seemed refreshing to Al-Nasr club by obtaining the Asian license, as it would directly qualify it to play in the AFC Champions League in the next version; This is given that the yellow team will not participate in the championship.
But it was frustrating for Al-Shabab club when it was denied the license that allows the team to participate in the AFC Champions League. Because it did not meet some financial and administrative requirements, while Al-Hilal, Al-Fayhaa, Al-Ittihad, Al-Fateh, Abha, Al-Adalah and Al-Batin clubs obtained the license.
And 7 clubs failed to obtain the Asian license, in addition to Al-Shabab Club, which are Al-Taawun, Al-Taie, Damak, Al-Ettifaq, Al-Raed, Al-Wahda and Al-Khaleej.
And the headache of the Asian license moved from Al-Ittihad to Al-Shabab, who ensured his exit from participation because he did not obtain the license, even if he was able to finish second in the ranking list at the end of the season.
Al-Shabab comes third with 53 points, four points behind Al-Nasr, who finished in second place, with a confrontation remaining between them in the twenty-eighth round.
Al-Nassr ensured qualification and official participation in the next edition of the AFC Champions League, after missing the last edition of the tournament, and before that, it reached the semi-final round before its exit at the hands of its traditional rival (Al-Hilal).
Al-Ittihad was denied participation in the 2022 edition of the AFC Champions League, although it finished third in the Saudi League Championship for the 2020-2021 season. what qualifies him to participate, but the fourth-placed Taawun participated instead of him; This is because he (Al-Ittihad) failed to obtain the Asian licence.
Although Anmar Al-Haili, President of Al-Ittihad Club, announced that his team had obtained the Asian license and completed all its requirements last March, the Licensing Committee had officially revealed that Al-Ittihad had obtained the Asian license.
As for Al-Ittihad, it will be his return to the continental championship after his absence in the last three editions, as his last attendance was in 2019, with which he reached the quarter-final round before he bid farewell to the championship after losing to his counterpart, the Saudi Al-Hilal team.
And the Saudi Football Association had announced the mechanism for participating in the AFC Champions League 2023-2024 edition, after it stopped (the previous version) to make adjustments to the calendar.
Where, according to what was announced by the Football Association, the King’s Cup champion last season, the Saudi Professional League champion last season, in addition to the King’s Cup champion in the current version, as well as the league champion in the current version, will participate.
And in the event that the team is repeated, the Football Association has indicated that the runner-up in the current league is resorted to, then the runner-up in the previous edition of the league, and in the event that the recurrence continues, then the third-ranked player in the league standings, then the third in the last season’s edition, and in If the team continues to repeat, the fourth-placed team will be selected for the current season.
According to the announced mechanism, the participation will be for the Al-Fayhaa team, which achieved the King’s Cup title in the previous version, as well as Al-Hilal, which achieved the King’s Cup title in the current version and the Saudi League title in the previous version, in addition to Al-Ittihad, the candidate for achieving the league title in the current version, as well as victory either by coming second or up to the third order; The fact that the youth did not obtain the Asian license.
And according to what the Football Association explained at the time, Al-Fayhaa will participate in an attached seat in the next edition of the AFC Champions League, while the rest of the participating teams will go directly to the group stage of the continental championship.
The Saudi clubs that were refused to grant the Asian license have the right to apply to the Appeal Committee before May 20, at the latest, against the Licensing Committee’s decision, while providing the Committee with justifications for the objection and evidence to overturn the Licensing Committee’s decision.
According to the committee’s statement, the clubs that obtained the license met the mandatory criteria (sports, infrastructure, administrative, legal, and financial) stipulated in the club licensing list approved by the AFC.
It is noteworthy that the Club Licensing Committee in the Saudi League League is chaired by Abdulaziz Al-Hamidi, and its members include Dr. Majed Al-Sulaiman, lawyer Nasser Al-Ohali, financial auditor Hassan Al-Nasser, engineer Ahmed Hinnawi, Nasser Al-Raqat, and the committee’s rapporteur, Rawan Al-Harbi.
In addition, jurists confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the opportunity is still ripe for other clubs to submit an integrated appeal proving that they meet the mandatory criteria for obtaining a license.
Majed Qaroub, the legal advisor, expressed his surprise at the discrepancy that appears annually and publicly in the decisions, citing the exclusion of clubs that received a high rating in the results of the evaluation of the governance initiative from obtaining the Asian licence.
Lawyer Karoub stressed in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat the need for a comprehensive and accurate review of all sports regulations and laws, especially those related to financial solvency, governance and activating the legal responsibility of boards of directors, noting that “management in sports clubs and federations must rise to the level of professionalism that is committed to the laws.” and international and continental regulations.
Qaroub explained that the Licensing Committee’s decision to give clubs the opportunity to file an appeal against the decision to exclude them from the license is a good opportunity for those clubs to present strong documents that support their position and contribute to overturning the decision, hoping that no club will be excluded from any continental championship.
Khaled Al-Mahmadi, the legal advisor, confirmed the possibility of granting the license to the excluded clubs after presenting strong justifications to nullify the issued decision, indicating that the non-compliance of those clubs to submit documents supporting their claim for the license may contribute to their continued exclusion from obtaining the Asian licence.
Al-Mahmadi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the clubs nominated to compete in the AFC Champions League competitions all obtained the Asian licence, namely Al-Hilal, Al-Nasr, Al-Ittihad and Al-Fayhaa, as they are the closest to reaching the AFC Champions League, with the exception of Al-Shabab, who is considered a favorable opportunity for him if he manages to snatch the league title in the current version.
Saudi Arabia has three and a half seats to participate in the AFC Champions League in its new form, and it is one of the Asian countries that obtain the most seats to participate in the first ranked tournament, which is the AFC Champions League.