FIFA reject Iraq's calls to oust Qatar

June 25, 2008

BANGKOK, June 25 (Reuters) - Soccer's world governing body FIFA has shot down Iraq's appeal for Qatar to be expelled from 2010 World Cup qualifying for fielding an ineligible player.

Iraq, who were dumped out of the competition on Sunday after a late goal by Qatar Sayd Ali Bechir, claimed the participation of Brazilian-born Emerson in Qatar's qualifying campaign was illegal.

However FIFA, who have since banned Emerson, said Iraq's complaint was filed too late and ruled that Qatar could keep their place in the final round, the Asian Football Confederation said.

Iraq said Emerson, also known as Marcio Passos De Albuquerque, had represented Brazil at youth level and was therefore ineligible.

The former Sao Paulo striker was also reported to have been detained by Brazilian police back in 2006 for falsifying his age on his birth certificate.

Gas-rich Qatar has a population of less than 800,000 people but has used its vast wealth to lure South American coaches and players to its lucrative league, several of whom have represented the national team.

In comments posted on the Asian Football Confederation's website FIFA gave few details, saying only: 'The player is not eligible to play for Qatar and cannot play any further matches for the representative team of Qatar.'

Asian champions Iraq, dogged by problems on and off the field, had looked set to qualify on Sunday after clawing themselves off the bottom of Group One and taking themselves to within a point of the final round.

They finished third behind Australia and Qatar and will play no further part in the competition.