FIFA fines Qatar for ‘political displays’

FIFA Qatar

Football’s global governing body FIFA has fined Qatar’s soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country’s Emir at a World Cup qualifier.

Bosnia, Serbia and Mexico are among the other countries to face action, penalties and sanctions, according to AP reports.

The FIFA disciplinary had panel imposed a $51,800 fine and reprimanded Qatar’s national football federation. The nation is scheduled to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals.

The charges against Qatar related to “displaying a political image” and “political displays” by fans at a 3-2 win over South Korea in Doha, FIFA said. Player Hasan Alhaydos was also fined $5,180 for unsporting unacceptable behavior.

The incidents happened on June 13, when Qatar’s players warmed up for the game wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him. Fans in the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium also wore and displayed images of the Emir. After Alhaydos scored the opening goal, he took a T-shirt from a spectator and lifted it high in the air.

The players and fans were showing solidarity win Emir as regional political rivals Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have sought to isolate Qatar.

FIFA rules do not permit political stands and displays of political images in football action.

In other FIFA decisions announced on Thursday, a range of sanctions was imposed on host Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece after a volatile end to a World Cup qualifier in June. Trouble had flared between players and coaching staff who were charged with offensive behavior after the final whistle of a scoreless draw in Zenica.

Bosnia’s assistant coach Stephane Gilli was handed a six-month suspension for punching a Greece player in the face. Gilli has said on his verified Twitter account this month that his contract has been canceled.

Muhamed Besic, the Everton midfielder, was fined $5,180 and banned for one match. He will miss Bosnia’s August 31 game at Cyprus.

FIFA banned Bosnia from using the Zenica stadium for one match and imposed a fine of $31,150 for a range of charges, including booing the Greek national anthem before the game.

Serbia’s federation was fined $23,400 for fans’ political chants and banners at a home qualifier against Wales.

FIFA again acted against Mexico for a long-standing problem with its fans chanting gay slurs at opposing teams’ goalkeepers. Fines of 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,400) were imposed for incidents at each of Mexico’s home qualifiers in June against Honduras and the United States.