Qatar field ineligible player: QFA CLEARED

UPDATE: The QFA have been cleared of any wrongdoing; http://www.foxsports.com.au/story/0,8659,23876606-23210,00.html

Despite losing to Australia last night, Qatar are still in the hunt to qualify from their group. However, the following could scupper all their hard work;

AUSTRALIA's World Cup qualifying group has been thrown into chaos with rivals Qatar facing a possible three-point deduction for fielding an ineligible player.

The Sun-Herald understands both Iraq and China have filed complaints with world governing body FIFA over Brazilian-born Marcio Emerson Passos, who represented Qatar in their 2-0 win against Iraq last March.

Passos represented Brazil at youth level, making him ineligible for Qatar under FIFA regulations. Those rules state that teams fielding ineligible players will retrospectively forfeit the game with the three points awarded for the win handed to the opposition.

Before this morning's games, Qatar and Australia were level on seven points at the top of the group with Iraq on four and China three.

A FIFA spokesman told The Sun-Herald that it acknowledged Qatar had fielded an ineligible player but the Qatari Football Association had not been at fault.

However, should Qatar qualify for the next round, appeals from Iraq, China and Australia cannot be discounted. Football Federation Australia officials are understood to be wary of becoming mired in a diplomatic row while qualifiers are still in progress.

The QFA don't seem to know what's going on;

A Qatari Football Association spokesman said he did not know why Passos was suspended.

No one had told the QFA why, he added.

"China complained, then Iraq complained, but no one will tell us why," the spokesman said before last night's match.

"No one knows. No one knows anything."

The issue is believed to centre on the 2006 detention of Passos by Brazilian police for falsifying a birth certificate. That certificate was used to issue a passport in a different name to his own.

Football Federation Australia officials are understood to have known of the situation for several weeks but, wary of becoming mired in a diplomatic row while qualifiers are still in progress, will await the final outcome of the group before raising the issue with FIFA.

The incident has the potential to prove embarrassing for the QFA, which has adopted a policy of recruiting foreign-born players for its national team.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald
and: The Age

UPDATE: The QFA have been cleared of any wrongdoing; http://www.foxsports.com.au/story/0,8659,23876606-23210,00.html

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