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Pro-League to expand next season

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 4 Jun 2012

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UAE Football Association president Yousef Al Serkal has confirmed the Pro-League will expand from 12 to 14 clubs.

The UAE FA passed a resolution on Saturday to make the move from next season which will increase the number of games each season from 132 to 182.

Al Serkal told reporters he felt the move was full of positives for UAE football.

“More teams and more games will provide more playing opportunities, particularly to the young players. There are a lot of age group players who don’t get an early exposure in the country’s top league,” he said.

“There was a need to play more games and to provide the players a longer season, and by increasing the number of teams to 14 we have achieved that objective to benefit the country’s football.”

The two bottom clubs from the 2011-12 season, Sharjah and Emirates, will now enter into a four-team play-off with the third and fourth ranked sides from UAE’s second division, Al Dhafra and Al Shaab, to determine the final two teams for the 2012-13 top flight.

On the play-off format, Al Serkal added: “I think whoever is unhappy should look at it from a positive side as even though relegated they now have a second chance. I believe the positives outweigh the negatives in this decision to introduce a 14-team competition.”

The decision has been made due to the Asian Football Confederation’s recommendation that a minimum of 33 rounds be played in each domestic season and over eight months a year.

The expanded Pro-League will have 26 rounds.

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