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FAM Youth Championship: Suspended Valencia squad moves to Odi

Club Valencia has made the difficult decision to move its under-19 squad to Odi Sports Club for the upcoming FAM Youth Chamionship after seeing no signs of its suspension being lifted.

Ameera Osmanagic
06 June 2024, MVT 16:51
[File] Club Valencia --
Ameera Osmanagic
06 June 2024, MVT 16:51

Club Valencia, a local football club - which was suspended by the Football Association of Maldives (FAM) after alleged attempts by the club's president Bassam Adeel Jaleel failed to assume control of the club - has made the decision to move their entire squad to Odi Sports Club for the upcoming FAM Under-19 Youth Championships.

While this is the first time Odi Sports Club will be participating the competition, the entire control of the club for this competition remains in the hands of Valencia's coaching team.

"[We] don't want to participate [in the competition] under another name but Valencia, however, since we don't want to give up the opportunity for our players and Odi is a new club, we decided to talk with the club. Under the agreement that their players will also be included if they have any. Otherwise the kids [players] will go to other clubs and the squad wouldn't be able to stay together," Club Valencia's head of youth development Yoosuf Azeem (Yootte) told 'Mihaaru'.

This comes as Club Valencia remains banned from using FAM's turf fields in light of their suspension. However, with the switch to Odi, the players are now able to practice on the same grounds they are banned from.

"When Valencia approached us we were very concerned because of the situation. Odi Sports Club does also not want the kids [Valencia players] to miss out on the opportunity. Young players are the future of Maldives' football. So our club also wanted to move forward by take every opportunity to serve football," Shifaz, an official of Odi Sports Club said.

Odi Sports Club won last year's second division championship under its former brand name Masodi Sports Club. However, following their promotion to the premier league, the club rebranded to Odi.

The Youth Championship is scheduled to commence this coming Sunday morning at 08:00, with Odi Sports Club facing off TC Sports Club in the opening match.

FAM announced Club Valencia's suspension in early March after its newly established Disciplinary Committee looked into Valencia's case, which was brought before the committee by Hussain Waheed (Dhona), a close associate of Bassam and former board member of Valencia after being removed from the club's leadership.

"In reference to Article 59 of the Disciplinary Code of FAM, Article 61 has been invoked in this case. Club Valencia has been suspended from all football activities until the club's AGM is held, and the Executive Committee of the club is lawfully elected in accordance with the club's governing regulation, FAM regulations, as well as the electoral code," read the notice signed by the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee, Ali Shah.

It has been reported that FAM tried to regain control of Club Valencia after Waheed's exit, especially after the club decided to endorse Ahmed Thoriq, who contested against Bassam's associate Mufawiz Hashim during the initially attempted FAM election on January 31.

Valencia blames Bassam for its suspension and in a statement shortly after the block, said that it believes that the suspension was in anticipation that the club would not support Bassam in the FAM election which was scheduled for April 20th at the time, but now remains indefinitely postponed pending the instruction of FIFA.

Although FAM maintains Club Valencia's suspension, Maldives' Sports Commission has accepted its new leadership, registering the new board and even informing FAM.

As Valencia makes the difficult decision to move its squad to another club, this is not unprecedented in the Maldivian football scene.

In 2019, New Radiant Sports Club, one of the most famous football clubs in the country, got suspended by FAM ahead of the under 21 youth championship, claiming the club had MVR 3.8 million in unpaid salaries to its players. As a result, the club's players participated in the competition as part of United Victory club.

However, even then FAM was accused of trying to control the club, with New Radiant claiming that FAM's suspension was motivated by the club's decision to file a no confidence case against FAM's leadership.

As a result of this suspension, New Radiant still remains in the second division.

While Valencia deals with its suspension by FAM, it ended the most recent season in a scandal involving unpaid salaries. With the club being unable to register new players in light of a suspension imposed by FIFA, Valencia ended up having to play the premier league of the season which no relegation, with only four senior players and players from the under 14 age category.

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