UAE's appeal to strip Qatar of AFC Asian Cup 2019 title reaches Court of Arbitration for Sport

The UAE has alleged Qatar star forward Almoez Ali and defender Bassam Al-Rawi were not born there and did not meet FIFA nationality requirements to represent the country

The Associated Press March 12, 2020 16:44:55 IST
UAE's appeal to strip Qatar of AFC Asian Cup 2019 title reaches Court of Arbitration for Sport
  • A Court of Arbitration for Sport judging panel is weighing the UAE football federation’s claim that 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar fielded two ineligible players to achieve its biggest football success

  • The appeal seeks to overturn Asian Football Confederation rulings that cleared Qatar of wrongdoing in the tournament hosted by the UAE

  • The UAE has alleged Qatar star forward Almoez Ali and defender Bassam Al-Rawi were not born there and did not meet FIFA nationality requirements to represent the country.

Lausanne: An appeal by United Arab Emirates (UAE) football officials that could strip Qatar of its 2019 Asian Cup title was being heard at sport’s highest court on Thursday.

A Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) judging panel is weighing the UAE football federation’s claim that 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar fielded two ineligible players to achieve its biggest football success.

UAEs appeal to strip Qatar of AFC Asian Cup 2019 title reaches Court of Arbitration for Sport

Shoes and water bottles were thrown at Qatar when they strayed within range of angry local supporters during the AFC Asian Cup semifinal match last year. Reuters

The appeal seeks to overturn Asian Football Confederation (AFC) rulings that cleared Qatar of wrongdoing in the tournament hosted by the UAE during ongoing diplomatic tensions between the Middle East neighbours.

A verdict by three CAS judges is likely to take at least several weeks.

Lawyers arriving at court for the day-long hearing declined to comment.

The UAE has alleged Qatar star forward Almoez Ali and defender Bassam Al-Rawi were not born there and did not meet FIFA nationality requirements to represent the country.

The UAE filed a complaint with the AFC after losing to Qatar 4-0 in the Asian Cup semifinals in Abu Dhabi in January last year.

When an ineligible player case is proven, AFC rules say a team must forfeit the game.

The Asian governing body’s first disciplinary ruling cleared Qatar hours before beating Japan 3-1 in the final. An AFC appeal panel confirmed the initial verdict.

FIFA statutes say players can acquire a nationality if they have “lived continuously for at least five years after reaching the age of 18 on the territory of the relevant association.”

Both Ali, who turned 23 since the Asian Cup ended, and Al-Rawi, who is now aged 22, seemed not to have met the five-year residency rule.

However, both reportedly claimed their mothers were born in Qatar. That would meet FIFA’s national eligibility standard if a parent or grandparent is born on a territory.

Ali scored against the UAE, and again in the final, for a tournament-leading nine goals. Al-Rawi was suspended for the semifinal but returned to play against Japan.

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