Wahda of Sanaa Refuses to Play in Riyadh Twice [Archives:1998/39/Sports]

September 28 1998

The Wahda of Sanaa football team is currently preparing for its next match with Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia, as part of the Asian Cup Winners qualifier matches. Al-Hilal is considered to be one of the richest and strongest football teams in this tournament. It has been able to attract top footballers from around the world. The game is scheduled to take place on October 9 in Sanaa.
However, Al-Hilal officials have been contacting the Yemeni Football Association, demanding that both of the teams’ two games be held in Saudi Arabia. The chairman of the Wahda of Sanaa, Mr. Noman Dowaid said: “We are honored to invite Al-Hilal team to play one of the games here in Sanaa. We would like the Saudi team to know that they have many fans in Yemen, who are happy to see them play here. The Wahda of Sanaa will also benefit from seeing the professionalism of their Saudi counterparts.”
So the Yemeni Football Association has apologized to the Saudi team, and declined to hold both games in Riyadh. The Yemeni football body has stressed the importance of adhering to the game’s international rules and regulations adopted in such cases. These rules stipulate that each competing team plays one game on its home ground and the other game on the opponent’s.
The same “maneuver” was made by Al-Rifaa of Bahrain. Again Wahda apologized, despite the $15,000 offer by the Bahraini club! Al-Rifaa was defeated by Wahda 3-nil, qualifying the latter to the quarter finals.