Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
East Timor’s Football Federation (FFTL) has been charged by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) with using forged or falsified documents, fielding ineligible players and bringing game into disrepute, The Sports Integrity Initiative can reveal. The charges relate to the use of Brazilian players in East Timor’s senior and under 23 mens teams over a four-year period. As many as eight imports were used in some games, including FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
While full details are yet to be announced, East Timor could face a suspension from international football that could stretch well into the next decade. At least 24 Brazilians are believed to have been given Timorese passports, despite having no apparent connection to the country. Under FIFA eligibility rules for national teams, players can only play for an adopted country if they have parents or grandparents born there, or have lived there for five years as an adult.
In October last year, the Palestine Football Association broke ranks with their Asian counterparts to lodge a complaint with FIFA over the issue. It followed a 1-1 draw in Dili, a result which could have damaged Palestine’s chances of progressing to the next stage of World Cup qualification.
While Timor did put a halt to their use of Brazilian players for the rest of the campaign, the practice resumed when Asian Cup qualifiers began in June, sparking the AFC’s interest. Some naturalised players who did not turn out for the national team have instead used their new passports as a way of beating the AFC’s 3 + 1 rule, explained in this article.
The current president of the FFTL, Francisco Kalbuadi Lay, is member of the AFC’s Executive Committee. It is not known if he is amongst the FFTL officials who have been charged.
Earlier this week, a group of Timorese football reformers, including Secretary for Youth and Sport Joseph Carvalho, called for long-overdue elections to be held to elect a new leader of the FFTL. An AFC spokesperson says the case will be dealt with by the AFC Disciplinary Committee next Thursday, 15 December.
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