Money woes spell trouble for clubs ahead of season

Celebrations in Al-Ramtha city after Al-Ramtha SC were crowned winners of the Jordanian Professional League. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Al-Ramtha SC returned to the Jordanian football podium by being crowned champions of the professional football league for the 2021 season at the expense of the former champion Al-Wehdat SC at the beginning of November. Historical celebrations were present in the streets of Al-Ramtha city as men, women, elders, and children celebrated the title that the club had been waiting 39 years to claim. اضافة اعلان

However, even after this great achievement, Al-Ramtha SC will not be able to represent Jordan in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League due to not being able to apply the game federation’s licensing standards.

To obtain the license to compete, clubs must meet specific mandatory standards in infrastructure, administration, legal, financial, business, trade, and promotional areas. Without fulfilling these criteria, the club may be penalized or barred from participating in Asian club competitions. 

The financial criterion is the primary reason for the clubs’ inability to receive licenses.

The AFC league is considered one of the most prestigious Asian football competitions for clubs, and it was expanded last season from 32 to 40 teams. This expansion was done by adding four teams on both the east and west zones, including teams from Jordan, India, and Tajikistan who competed last year for the first time. 

Al-Ramtha, the Jordanian Professional League’s 2021 champions, will be absent from the AFC Champions League due to financial constraints, and their place will be taken by Al-Wehdat, the runners-up and the only Jordanian club that obtained the license.

The financial crisis that teams are going through prominently impacts smaller teams in the league. This resulted in sanctions against a number of them, including the decision to prevent them from registering new players next season until their financial obligations to players and coaches — totaling hundreds of thousands of dinars — in salaries and benefits are paid.

The Maan club President Majed Al-Khawalda told the Jordan News Agency, Petra, that “most professional clubs will not be able to add new players in the coming season, which means that those clubs will not be able to perform well. This is a detriment to Jordanian football.”

“We tried to mitigate expenses, due to the club’s suffocating financial crisis, we did not venture to attract foreign professionals with high sums of money, and our contracts with local players were logical and not exaggerated. We spent JD250,000 on the football team during the season, where we managed to collect this amount from personal recourses, there was still JD70,000 remaining as a debt,” he added.

Earlier this month, the last wave of penalties was levied on some clubs by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee.

Fines were imposed in response to late payment complaints from players and coaches. FIFA stated on its official website that clubs including Al-Faisaly, Al-Ramtha, Maan, and others in different divisions had been sanctioned and were required to pay money to various coaches and players.

FIFA’s rulings and punishments against Jordanian clubs due to the complaints by foreign players and coaches disparages the teams to FIFA and causes heartbreak for Jordanian fans.

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