Cover Image: Saoud Al Mohannadi - vice president of AFC
The rift between Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt who broke all diplomatic ties with Qatar on 5 June 2017 has taken a turn for the worse as Saoud Al Mohannadi, Vice President of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Chairman of the Asian Cup 2019 organising committee, was denied entry into UAE on Thursday ahead of the kick off for the AFC Asian Cup on Saturday 5 January. This denial of entry took place after Mohannadi was assured by the AFC that he, and other members of the organizing committee, would get all required visas and any entry permits required to enter the UAE for the AFC Asian Cup.
Mohannadi was stopped at Muscat International Airport just before he boarded an Oman Air flight to Abu Dhabi. Officials at the airport told him that he could not enter the UAE because his name was not found on a list at the Abu Dhabi International Airport
After being denied entry into Abu Dhabi, Mohannadi filed a complaint with Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa, a member of the Bahraini royal family and President of the AFC. Later AFC made a statement indicating that they were aware that Mohannadi was, perhaps, being barred from entry into the country hosting the 2019 AFC Asian Cup and would investigate into the matter.
Five members of a Qatar-based media delegation on their way to the UAE to cover the AFC Cup were also denied entry into Dubai. They were made to wait over 13 hours even though they had all the visas and entry permits and, eventually, told they could not enter and had to return back to Doha.
Mohannadi has been associated with football for decades. After serving as the General Secretary for the Qatar Football Association for many year, Mohannadi was made the Association's Vice President in 2013.
In September 2016, Mohannadi was banned by FIFA from running for a seat in elections that were bring held by the FIFA Council for refusing to cooperate in an enquiry. FIFA's ethic committee recommended that Mohannadi be banned for two and a half years, but, eventually, he was banned for one year.
In April 2017, FIFA's appeal committee overturned Mohannadi's one year ban along with the 20,000 swiss francs fine, on the basis that it did not have sufficient evidence against him and was unable to prove that Mohannadi had violated any of FIFA's code of ethics.
The AFC Asian Cup is an international association football tournament which is managed by the AFC. The team that wins becomes the champion of Asia and qualifies for the FIFA Confederations Cup.This football tournament was started in 1956 with Hong Kong being the first country to host the football event and is held every fours years. Qatar hosted the AFC Asian Cup in 1988 and 2011.
AFC is planning on opening an AFC office in Doha in the near future. The purpose of this office would be to help Qatar in its preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup by providing organisational, administrative and technical support.
The 2019 AFC Asian Cup is 17th edition of the international men’s football championship of Asia which is being hosted by the UAE and will run from 5 January to 1 February 2019. The championship will played between 24 teams. The first match will be played between United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Qatar will play its first game of the championship tournament on 9 January against Lebanon.
Al Mohannadi was finally allowed entry into Abu Dhabi on Friday 4 January, according to a statement by an AFC spokesperson.
The Qatar Sports Committee(QSC)is investigating the ban on the Qatar-based media delegation from entering the UAE a few days ago. The media delegation had all necessary documents and entry visas for the UAE and were on the way to cover the AFC Asian Cup hosted by the UAE. UAE has denied the claims and, in a statement claimed they were welcoming media delegations.
The QSC has refuted these statements which affect media freedom and has called on international human rights organisations and bodies to stand against these actions and denounce actions that stand to violate human rights in the media and otherwise.
The QSC has also called upon AFC and FIFA to investigate the denial of entry into the UAE of the five journalists representing Qatar's media delegation.
What do you think of this? Was it the right thing to do by the UAE? What will they do next? What do you think will happen now? Do let us know your thoughts in our Comments section. Like and share the article - it keeps us going!
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