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Syria sees FIFA World Cup ban as politically motivated

DAMASCUS, Aug 19 (KUNA) -- FIFA said on Friday that the Syrian football team has been disqualified from the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, after fielding an ineligible Striker George Mourad.
In turn, FIFA reinstated Tajikistan in its place. Despite previously representing Sweden, Mourad played in last month's qualifier against Tajikistan.
He scored in the first leg, which Syria won 6-1 on aggregate.
Mourad participated in the Swedish Olympic team during its participation in the Olympic qualification of 2003-05.
A statement by FIFA said that its Disciplinary Committee on 17 August declared the first-leg match of the Second Round (Syria-Tajikistan of 23 July 2011) to be lost by Syria by forfeit (0:3) due to an ineligible player in the Syrian team taking part in this match.
"The FIFA Disciplinary Committee reached the same decision regarding the second leg match (Tajikistan-Syria of 28 July 2011) due to the same ineligible player also taking part in this match," the statement said.
"In conformity with Article 7 of the Regulations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, the Bureau of the Organizing Committee for the FIFA World Cup took the following decisions," the statement said, adding "Tajikistan will take Syria's place in Group C of Asia qualifying along with Japan, Uzbekistan and North Korea." Meanwhile, according to Syrian News Agency (SANA) which quoted the President of Syrian Football Federation Faruoq Saria as saying that the federation took all of the necessary procedures to ensure participation of the mentioned player in accordance with FIFA regulations.
"FIFA bylaw with regard to approval of player transfer from the Swedish federation, does not need approval from FIFA, only from the transferred to federation, according to FIFA bylaw, said Saria.
Saria asserted that the banning of the Syrian team from the second round of qualifications comes due to political unrest and developments in Syria.
The Syrian official added Mourad was born in Syria and has a Syrian and not Sweden nationality, and the player played in Swedish National Olympic team. (end) om.mb KUNA 200044 Aug 11NNNN