Asian Cup host UAE fined $150K for fans targeting Qatar

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Asian Cup host United Arab Emirates was fined $150,000 on Monday for fan misconduct during the team's semifinal loss to eventual champion Qatar.

Qatar players dodged shoes thrown by some spectators after the second goal in a 4-0 rout at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Jan. 29.

Incidents of misconduct also included fans in Abu Dhabi "making insulting sounds" during Qatar's national anthem, the Asian Football Confederation said.

The politically charged game was played about 20 months into an ongoing economic and travel boycott of Qatar by hostile regional neighbors, including the UAE.

The Asian soccer body said UAE fans also "got into a fight among themselves after the match," and one ran onto the field.

"The defendant had issues with ensuring the safety and security at the match as regards the distribution of beverages and the public passageways," the AFC said.

The UAE was also ordered to play its first home qualifying game for the 2023 Asian Cup in an empty stadium.

The verdict was the latest legal defeat for the UAE soccer federation in fallout from the Qatar game.

On the day of Qatar's win over Japan in the Asian Cup final, the AFC rejected a formal complaint by the UAE that two players were ineligible to play for the 2022 World Cup host nation's team amid allegations of wrongfully submitted documents.

An appeal by the UAE against the decision is likely in a case that could go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

The disciplinary cases are playing out during the AFC presidential campaign, where two of the three candidates come from the UAE and Qatar.

Current president Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa of Bahrain is seeking a renewed four-year term on April 6 in Kuala Lumpur against former Abu Dhabi police chief Mohamed Khalfan Al Romaithi and Saoud Al-Mohannadi of Qatar.

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