Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 26th 2015 Contents A43
Monday, January 26, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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SYDNEY---The Asian Football Confederation has
dismissed a protest from Iran over its quarterfinal
loss to Iraq in the continental championship, saying
the complaint over the eligibility of Alaa Abdulzehra
The AFC disciplinary committee held an emergency
meeting yesterday, on the eve of the Asian Cup semi-
final between South Korea and Iraq in Sydney, and
gave Iran the opportunity to produce evidence to
support its claim that Abdulzehra should have been
disqualified for the quarterfinals last Friday due to
an alleged doping infraction while he played for
Tractor Sazi last year in the Iranian domestic league.
"The disciplinary committee heard oral evidence
from two (Iran) officials, deliberated the matter based
on its merits, and decided that the protest was
unfounded," the AFC said in a statement. "The protest
was, therefore, dismissed."
In a dramatic quarterfinal match, Iran twice scored
equalisers in extra time to force a draw before losing
7-6 in a penalty shootout to the 2007 Asian Cup
Abdulzehra denied he was subject to any doping
sanctions, and Iraqi football federation chief Abdul
Khaliq Masood said the midfielder s position in the
team shouldn t be in dispute.
"When (Iran) filed the objection we knew our posi-
tion and the player position is correct," Masood said.
"Alaa Abdulzehra does not have any punishment
from Fifa or the Asian federation. This allegation I
think is not correct, because if he have any punishment
they should (have) sent us a letter with his interna-
tional card and mentioned that the player (was) being
punished, and the reason for the punishment."
Abdulzehra denied using any banned perform-
ance-enhancing substances, and said the Iranians
were looking for excuses for their quarterfinal loss.
"This case should not be raised. Since I started
playing football I don t have any issue like this, I
never drink anything illegal, and if I need to take any
(medication) I always ask the team doctor," he said.
"The Iranian team should be better than that. If a
team can t beat you on the pitch, it should not try
to find other excuses."
Fifa declined to comment on the case, saying it
was under the AFC s jurisdiction. (AP)
LONDON---Even if David Ginola gains the
nominations required by Thursday s deadline
to stand against Sepp Blatter, his improbable
bookmaker-funded campaign could be scup-
pered by Fifa s gambling rules.
Ginola s campaign is being organised by stunt-
prone Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, which is
paying the former France international £250,000
($375,000) to seek the Fifa presidency.
And ahead of Thursday s deadline to enter
the race, Fifa has issued an election guide that
stresses that official candidates are bound by
its ethics code. One regulation, designed to
protect the integrity of football, states: "Persons
bound by this code shall be forbidden from
taking part in, either directly or indirectly, or
otherwise being associated with betting, gam-
Asked if the betting rule applied to presidential
campaigns, Fifa told The Associated Press on
Sunday: "It will be part of the eligibility assess-
ment of prospect Fifa presidential candidates
by the Ad-Hoc Electoral Committee in accor-
dance with the electoral regulations."
Ginola s activities would only fall under the
code if he gained five nominations from Fifa s
209 national federations by Thursday.
Asked about the betting rule, Paddy Power
said in a statement to the AP: "Both the heading
and the content of the rule clearly relate to the
integrity of football matches and competitions."
It did not respond to further questions on
Ginola is yet to gain the public backing of a
single federation since launching his campaign
on January 16 at a chaotic media conference,
where he struggled to answer questions about
Fifa and Paddy Power branding featured heav-
ily.After the bookmaker was questioned about
its role in the campaign, the company said it
will stop contributing financially before the
"Paddy Power assisted by getting this cam-
paign off the ground in the run up to Ginola
getting on the ballot and will not be contributing
financially beyond 27th Jan," the company said.
The TeamGinola.com Web site currently says
campaign cash is being held by Rebooting Foot-
ball---"a subsidiary of Paddy Power plc, who is
the primary sponsor of the Campaign."
The crowd-funding Web site says it is trying
to raise £2.3 million ($3.4 million) by February
28---by which time the former Paris-Saint Ger-
main and Tottenham winger would hope to be
several weeks into the official Fifa campaign
"We have always been clear this needs to be
a fan-backed campaign," Paddy Power said.
"Indeed crowd funding is required to continue
campaigning once he is an official candidate."
Ginola s Web site says that "pledges are non-
refundable," even if he does not make it onto
the Fifa ballot." But Paddy Power now insists
"in case David doesn t make it through, we will
look to fully reimburse fans who have donated
to the campaign."
As well as gaining five nominations, Ginola
has to prove to Fifa that he has carried out an
active role in football in two of the last five
The 47-year-old Ginola will be relying on
his consultancy work for French amateur club
Etoile Frejus, which plays in the third tier. Club
president Alexandre Barbero told the AP that
Ginola worked with him "mainly over the
phone" over the past six years and is unpaid.
Blatter is seeking a fifth four-year term as
Fifa president in the May election. (AP)
over Asian Cup
Ginola campaign could
breach Fifa rules
Iraqi players celebrate after scoring a goal during the AFC Asia Cup quarterfinal
soccer match between Iran and Iraq in Canberra, Australia, on Friday. AP PHOTOS
Iraq's Alaa Abdulzehra and Japan's Makoto Hasebe watch the ball during the AFC
Asia Cup soccer match between Iraq and Japan in Brisbane, Australia, on Friday.
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