Oman: For the First Time, Var Technology to Be Used in 2023-24 Omantel League

The 2023-24 Omantel League, the top-flight domestic football competition in Oman, will see the introduction of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology as the Oman Football Association (OFA) and Omantel jointly launched the season at the Omantel headquarters on Monday.
The introduction of VAR technology will be a huge step in domestic football as the top-tier league aims to gain more prominence in the region. The Omantel League will kick-off with 12 teams this season on August 17 with
defending champions Al Nahda taking on Al Shabab in the opener at the Rustaq Sports Complex.
The launch ceremony was presided over by Oman Football Association Chairman Sheikh Salim Al Wahaibi and Omantel CEO Sheikh Talal Al Maamari in the presence of clubs’ representatives and other dignitaries.
Mohammed al Yahmadi, OFA general secretary, unveiled the major highlights of the upcoming season. Besides confirming the introduction of VAR technology in phases after a trial run. For the first time, he said that the top six clubs will receive cash awards. “We may have the technology in few games this season and it will be used only where matches are telecast live. But from next season we will be ready to have VAR in all matches,” said Al Yahmadi.
The Omantel League winner will receive OMR50,000 while the runner-up will get OMR30,000 and the third-place team will take home OMR20,000. The next three teams will receive OMR15,000, OMR10,000 and OMR5,000 respectively.

The His Majesty’s Cup winner will receive OMR25,000 from the OFA while the runner-up will get OMR15,000. The top-two teams of the OFA First Division, which will also feature 12 teams will receive OMR20,000 and OMR15,000 respectively.

There are also cash awards for top-three teams of Under-20 league, Under-17 leagues.

And in yet another first, 12 cars will be won over the season in raffle draws for fans. Fans engagement has been given a top priority with OFA declaring that there would be monthly prizes through a panel of experts and fans votes for the best player, best goalkeeper, and best coach and for the team fairplay team.

The fans’ clubs in the top-flight will also be rewarded in the new season.

Speaking to Times of Oman, OFA chairman Al Wahaibi said: I am happy that we are continuing our partnership with Omantel. This is the 14th season and next year we will conclude the current deal. We wish to continue with them but we will be having fresh negotiations as other competitors will also be making a bid for the new three-year deal.”

The OFA chief termed it unfortunate that two teams including last season’s runner-up Al Suwaiq and Mussanah clubs have withdrawn from the season this time to reduce the total number of teams from 14 to 12.

Al Wahaibi said: “The withdrawal of two teams is a decision made by the respective clubs and I wish they had not. We will go ahead with the 12 teams though there were proposals to promote first division teams but the board took a decision to have the best 12 teams and we look forward to an exciting and entertaining season.”

In his remarks, Omantel CEO Al Maamari said: We have been a long-standing partner of the top-tier league and the association has been since the 2008-2009 season. This is the second year of the new three-year deal and it has been a great journey together.

“The aspirations have always been high to promote football. Our support goes beyond the game as we believe in the empowerment of Omani youth. We wish to create an ecosystem, where we treat football as an industry. We are satisfied with the partnership with the OFA and we hope to accomplish more ahead together.”

Al Maamari affirmed that Omantel will continue to support sports and athletes in the Sultanate of Oman, thus contributing to strengthening national efforts to push youth to local, continental and international podiums, achieving the goals and aspirations of the masses and  satisfying the aspirations of our wise government.


Times of Oman
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