Muscat: Football in Oman will soon get a facelift when Oman Football Association (OFA) will begin the Professional League with its new season set to begin in September.
Speaking to Times Sport, Mohammed Saifuddin Abu Bakar, technical consultant of competition and Pro League at Oman Football Association (OFA) confirmed that the Pro-League will begin as scheduled.
"As of now there is no change in that. We will begin the Professional League in September itself," Saifuddin said.
On Sunday, OFA board along with the newly formed Oman Professional League Committee (OPLC) and the 14 top clubs that is playing in the Oman League had a lengthy meeting to discuss the plans for the new venture. "The meeting was really satisfying," Saifuddin said. "We did discuss quite a lot of issues during the meeting and everyone came out with a smile," he said.
When asked if the 14 clubs formally agreed to start the Professional League in September, Saifuddin had this to say: "We put up a proposal about what we want and what we expect to do in order to start the Processional League on time. They have agreed with our view and we are confident of starting it in September itself," he said.
The meeting led by OFA chairman Sayyid Khalid Al Busaidi who is also heading OPLC is said to have assured the club representatives of high revenues from the League.
With the Pro-League, OFA as reported by Times Sport last year is targeting the 2014 AFC Champions League where four teams from Oman can qualify. "A maximum of four teams can qualify for that (Champions League), however, overall we should have 400 points to qualify," he said.
Interestingly, Oman Football already has 475 points at its kitty to have a direct entry into the Champions League.
"The overall development of football in Oman is growing at a faster phase, thanks to Sayyid Khalid and his team for improving the facilities. But we need to upgrade many more things to achieve our target but our focus is primarily on starting the Professional League," he said.
As part of its initial plan, Pro-League will look into licensing the clubs and commercialising it. Infrastructures, technical development, referees are some among the top criteria's of the Pro-League.
In the meeting, Nic Cartwright, OFA's commercial director also explained the commercial aspect of the Professional League.
With the Premier League format League becoming a reality this year, the Pro-League body will not only take care of the domestic league but also the annual OFA Cup which will be "re-branded" as Oman Professional League Cup.
"We will have four tournaments under OPLC. The Oman Pro-League (currently the Omantel League), the OPLC 1, OPLC 2 and OPL Cup are the tournaments featured. We at OPLC are ready to launch it in September itself and it is simply because of the immense support of Sayyid Khalid and the entire board," Saifuddin added.