RIYADH, Jan 23 (AFP)
The players of Bahrain, bottom of the Gulf Cup standings and fed up with bad refereeing, have demanded the nation pull out of the Gulf Cup.
"The Bahraini players have signed a petition demanding to withdraw from the competition because they have had enough," said Bahrain football federation vice-president Sheikh Ibrahim al-Khalifa.
"Federation members who are in Riyadh will meet today to take a final decision that will be put to the political leadership of the country," he said.
Khalifa spoke of "unfair refereeing" during a 3-1 defeat by hosts Saudi Arabia on Sunday and again Tuesday in a goalless draw with Kuwait when a Bahraini player was sent off for no apparent reason.
Qatar leads the table ahead of World Cup qualifiers Saudi Arabia who clash in the final match on January 29.
Yet another sorry episode of the sorry tale of this sorry edition of this sorry tournament. As the world moves forward, we go backwards. The childish and unprofessional behaviour continues in yet another arabic tournament with yet another withdrawal. We should just stop playing each other if we continue like this, because frankly I'm getting tired of this now regular occurence.
Don't jump into conclusions, I just heard on the news that they will not pull out.
ALthough the two ref. mistakes in the KSA-BAH match were extremely close calls, the two red cards in the Kuw-Bah match were ridiculous. Clearly, Bahrain suffered more since their player was red carded much earlier in the game. I was both surprised and pleased that Hussein and Bashar Abdallah did not make a seen when they were wrongfully shown the marching orders. Both teams still have a descent shot at the third place.
Bahrain changed their minds of withdrawing from the ongoing 15th Gulf Cup following the meeting of their official delegation.
The delegation was headed by Sheikh Eissa bin Rashid Al Khalifa, the Vice President of the Supreme Council of Youth and Sports in Bahrain. The delegation held discussions with players yesterday after Sheikh Eissa arrived in Riyadh.
The Bahrain players late on Tuesday had signed a letter addressed to Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa asking for the withdrawal of their team. They players were protesting the refereeing of during their matches. Bahrain have so far played three matches in the tournament one each against Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
From three matches they have logged only one point though the team won praise for their outstanding performance in all three matches.
Bahrain players said that they were being treated unfairly in all three matches and that led to losing valuable points. This development threatens to diminish the achievements the team gained last year especially in the Asian qualifiers where they beat Kuwait and Iran. roud:
Bahrain have protested officially against the referee of their match against Saudi Arabia.
According to Bahrain players referee disallowed a correct goal for them and allowed a wrong goal for the Saudis in addition to the sending off of their player Ibrahim Al Mishkhass.
Against Kuwait, the referee also sent off their star defender Mohammed Hussain although Kuwait's striker Faraj Laheeb, who was fouled, was off side and Hussain did not tackle him from behind and actually he was going for the ball. The sending off happened only 17 minutes into the match.
Sheikh Fawaz said after meeting the players that they feel dejected and unfairly treated and lost the desire to continue in the competition.
Bahrain's captain Faisal Abdul Aziz said that his colleagues have lost interest in the tournament and it would be better if they were allowed to go back home in such circumstances where they have been a victim of bad refereeing in all their matches.
"It was unacceptable to play your heart out and then a referee comes and deprive you of your efforts. We are being a victim of the referee's and we have no intention to continue in the competition."
Sheikh Eissa bin Rashid returned from Bahrain when he was told about the players' decision late on Tuesday night and met with the official delegation and the players. Sheikh Eissa decided to continue in the tournament to preserve the noble aims of the Gulf Cup that are more important than winning or losing the trophies and matches.
Bahrain had withdrawn from the second Gulf Cup in 1972, also in Riyadh, protesting the refereeing of the tournament.
In a press conference held yesterday by Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, the Vice President of Bahrain FA, said that the Bahrain delegation have decided to continue in the championship.
They also decided to award each of their team members SR 10,000 and to refuse to play in any match officiated by referee Rune Pedersen, from Norway, who officated their match against Kuwait on Tuesday.
I hope they win those 2 games too.. They have simply been better than all the teams they've played against.. but haven't been able to turn that advantage into results..
But let's not blame the refs only.. The Bahrainis should NOT withdraw from the tournament.. that is purely childish.. and I agree with HiJazzey!! It reminds me of the joke the Kuwaiti's made of themselves in the 1982 WC against France..!! Anyway.. another point is.. I do not blame the ref as much as I blame the Bahraini players!! Against Saudi Arabia.. with the result 2-1.. they had what?? 5 one on one's?? come on.. in EVERY game they've played in.. they've been able to create Sh!tloads of chances.. and NOT taking them.. and in the end blame the refs as a scape goat!! Now Ok.. I totally agree that decisions haven't been going their way.. tough luck.. do your best to overcome that..
What I really found funny.. was the Bahraini players saying that they have lost interest in the cup and would prefer to go home!! What is this?? a school trip?? Does that mean that any team in the WC who lose their first two games and have players sent off should just leave?? Should KSA have done that after that joke of a match against France??!!
My opinion.. Bahrain should stay.. if not for anything.. it's to prove that they are good and defy the odds to get a respectable position in the tournament..
did u say your players what have they done to us?every hajmaa mortdaa they go to our players then they fell down its a foul for U & bashar didnt do anything u were lucky even your team dont know how to play but our team is....they didnt know how to score
RVN, That's the biggest load of BS I've read since... the world cup qualifiers!! Bahrain have out played their opponents in each and every game they've played in...
Ok.. I saw the game (which I can't say the ref did!!).. and both red cards were unfair.. !! None deserved to be sent off..
But cut the crap about Kuwait being treated unfairly or they deserve to win (you're sounding like Alex Ferguson after the 1-0 loss to Liverpool now )...
My point is simply.. that EVEN with the ref's blunders.. Bahrain should have won their games.. they didn't.. bad scoring abilities.. everything else is gr8.... But getting a bad decision or two should never mean to withdraw!!