By Houda Mzioudet.
Tripoli, 12 September 2013:
Football clubs from the eastern region say they are withdrawing from the forthcoming Champions’ League, in . . .[restrict]a row about financial support from the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
A letter, addressed to Minister of Youth and Sports Abdussalam Ghweila, explained that 16 football clubs would withdraw from the Champions’ League – due to start tomorrow – unless the Ministry honoured its promise of fuller financial support. The letter was signed by a number of clubs from the east of the country, including Ahly Benghazi, Attahaddi and Drance.
“The clubs threatened to withdraw but have not officially withdrwan from the Champions League,” media head of the Youth and Sports Ministry, Mazen Dreibika, explained to the Libya Herald.
“We have allocated LD 8 million for the 16 clubs,” Dreibika said, adding that a further LD 500,000 had just been released.
The letter, however, said that the situation of football clubs in the east was different from their western counterparts, since they depend entirely on the Libyan government’s financial support for “the advancement of youth activities.”
It went on to say that the clubs’ decision to withdraw was “to avoid falling into any judicial and legal disputes with foreign players.” Dreibika, however, said that “it was not a good idea to have contracted foreign players before receiving money from the Ministry.”
President of the Libyan Football Association, Anwar Al Tashani, said the decision was a bad one. “They are free to walk out if they want but they should have taken into account the general interests,” he said. He added that the Association had tried to convince the clubs not to withdraw, but this appears to have been in vain.
An administration official at Ahly Benghazi Football Club, Khalifa Ben Sriti, told the Libya Herald that the decision to withdraw by letter had caused some confusion. “It would have been better for the clubs to have met with the Minister of Youth and Sports when he came to Benghazi and addressed their grievances to him, instead of withdrawing from the league at this point,” he said.
Sriti, however, defended the clubs’ full right to ask for financial support from government. [/restrict]