UAE president wins new term, despite quitting

January 14, 2008

BANGKOK, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Soccer in the United Arab Emirates was in disarray on Monday after the president of the country's soccer federation won a new four-year term he does not want to serve.

The UAE Football Association were due to hold an emergency meeting on Monday to end a bizarre leadership crisis, which emerged after Yousuf Al Sarkal won an election from which he thought he had withdrawn.

Al Sarkal resigned on Jan. 1 after five years in charge, but his club, Al Shabab, failed to inform election chiefs until after the nominations were submitted.

Since he was the only candidate in the polls, the federation's election commission announced that Al Sarkal had won, despite having quit the post citing personal reasons.

'Right now, he has resigned, but it's a sensitive issue,' a senior UAE FA official told Reuters by telephone.

'Our congress will meet later today to resolve it.'

Al Sarkal was reportedly unhappy about the federation's mishandling of an incident last year when a domestic league player was banned for 13 matches for attacking a referee.

The board of directors is expected to resign later on Monday to form a temporary board to organise new elections.

The UAE will next month contest the third round of qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup. They have been drawn in an all-Middle Eastern group, with Kuwait, Iran and Syria.