Amidst political tension and in the aftermath of Qatar players being pelted with plastic bottles and shoes in the semifinal, the hosts United Arab Emirates have decided to protest eligibility of two Qatari players.
The Asian Football Confederation said on Thursday that they have received a protest from UAE FA regarding the eligibility of two players from Qatar two days after the hosts were defeated 4-0 by the finalists in the semifinal.
An AFC spokesperson was quoted by AFP as saying, “The Asian Football Confederation has received a protest from the United Arab Emirates FA regarding the eligibility of two Qatar players. This protest will now be reviewed in line with the AFC regulations.”
According to media reports, the players in question are striker Almoez Ali, who is a 22-year old of Sudanese descent and has scored a record-equalling eight goals at the tournament, and 21-year old defender Bassam Al-Rawi, who was born in Iraq.
The punishment for featuring an uneligible player is forfeiting a match as well as a fine, according to the AFC Disciplinary and Ethics Code.
Qatar coach Felix Sanchez, however, said that he is not concerned by the reports. “I’m not concerned at all,” he shrugged. “All the players are working with us, so no worries. To us it’s no surprise that we are in the final,” said the Spaniard, who has received messages of support from Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger. I have full trust in the players, they are motivated to make history.”