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COVID-19 cases postpone 10 matches in Jordan Football Professional League

By Aline Bannayan - Oct 12,2020 - Last updated at Oct 12,2020

AMMAN — With over four clubs confirmed having COVID-19 cases in their line-ups, the 68th Jordan Professional Football League agenda was thrown into havoc as matches were postponed just as teams started picking up and standings began to shift at both ends of the table.

Wihdat remained in the lead after Week 10, which only had three matches played, while 10 matches have so far been postponed due to COVID-19 cases amid line-ups of Wihdat, Ahli, Faisali and Sahab and the weekend lockdown.

In latest results, Salt held Shabab Aqaba 0-0 in the only match played in Week 11 as Aqaba climbed to 9th after an earlier 3-1 win over Hussein. 

Earlier, Jazira beat Ramtha 1-0 and are now second while Sarih are third after their Wihdat match was postponed. Faisali held Ma’an 0-0 and are fourth. 

The season has been hit hard with the schedule as well as overall issues such as prize money for the league, Jordan Cup, Super Cup and JFA Shield noticeably downsized after the Jordan Football Association’s (JFA) main sponsor, the Manaseer Group, ended its 10-year sponsorship this season. That was earlier compounded with the kickoff delayed for nearly six months for 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup national team qualifiers which have now been postponed to next year. Clubs had already been reeling with lack of sponsors, injuries and lack of momentum after a long break with reigning champs Faisali starting on an impressive form after they lost in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup. 

The league has halted twice this year. In March, and after teams played one round, 11 clubs announced they were suspending participation as the JFA downsized prize money compounded by evident officiating mistakes. The competition then resumed only to stop again in August when seven Faisali team members tested positive for COVID-19 while Ramtha players were quarantined in Amman after increasing cases in Ramtha led to heightened alert and more testing countrywide.

So far this season, the Jordan Cup — the second major competition on the annual football calendar — which was to be held next month is still on the agenda with professtional teams playing in a knockout first round to which Wihdat, Ramtha, Ma’an and Salt got a first round bye.

Wihdat defeated Ramtha to win the 33rd Jordan Football Association Shield. It was their 1oth Shield title while Ramtha, who have not won a major competition recently, last won the Jordan Cup in 1990-1991 and the Shield in 2001. 

On the other hand, Faisali beat Jazira to win the 37th Jordan Super Cup, which has now been won by Faisali a record 17 times out of 25 final appearances, Wihdat have won 13 times, Ramtha and Shabab Urdun won twice each while Jazira, Hussein and Ahli won once each.

In the past season, Wihdat beat Jazira to win the 36th Jordan Super Cup while Faisali won their 20th Jordan Cup title, adding it to their record 34th Professional League title, one point ahead of Jazira who had led throughout the competition and settled for runner-up. 

With financial difficulties, Jazira have had an issue consolidating their line-up and were unimpressive in regional events. Titleholders Wihdat settled for third, Shabab Urdun finished fourth, Salt finished 5th, Aqaba finished 6th. That Ras, a former AFC Cup participant and 2012 Jordan Cup champ were the first to drop to the First Division. Baqa’a were relegated after 18 consecutive seasons in the league. 

Since the league kicked off in 1944 with only Faisali, Urdun, Ahli and Homenetmen competing, Faisali are 34 time record league winners, while Wihdat were crowned champs 16 times since they joined in 1980.

 

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