Ansar U-turn, will compete in AFC Cup.
BEIRUT: Ansar will participate in the forthcoming AFC Cup after an about-turn following Wednesday's withdrawal from the competition due to a lack of funds.
While confusion reigned off the pitch, on the pitch the club appeared in fine shape as they brushed Shabab al Sahel 5-0 at Cite Sportive with Mohammad Atwi, Ali Naseridinne (who scored two each) and Edson scoring.
Ansar executive committee held an emergency meeting with caretaker Minister of Youth and Sports Ali Abdallah Thursday where they thrashed out an agreement that permits Lebanon's most successful club to play in Asia's second most prominent club competition.
A meeting took place Thursday afternoon between the club's delegation, headed by its president Karim Diab, and Abdallah, who immediately approved an LL 100 million gift, enabling the club to enter the AFC Cup.
Following the approval of the payment, the committee sent a letter to the Lebanese Football league retracting their previous request to withdraw. Also, the committee wanted to urgently communicate with the club's supporters and the board of trustees to ensure the necessary amount to complete all due payments required was received; these payments were double what the government offered.
The committee thanked the club's supporters, other committees, and mayors for their immediate mobilization which, they believe, symbolizes great friendship.
Diab had held a news conference Wednesday with club secretary Nabil Sinno, who announced their withdrawal from the cup, to be held in March.
Diab said that research had shown that withdrawing would be less costly than participating. He also said that the club sent a request to the ministry but with no response, and sent a letter to the Olympics committee which responded with "no interference."
In response to a question on the league's role in helping the club, Diab noted the 172th rank of Lebanon internationally, adding that until recently the league used to receive around $300,000 annually from fans and media revenues, but today it receives just $10,000.
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