DUBAI // The UAE Football Association has demanded an official apology from the Asian Football Confederation for the "disrespect" shown towards the national team in an article on the AFC official website.
The October 12 story followed the 2015 Asian Cup draw, which placed the UAE alongside Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Hong Kong. Writing about the performance of the team in their previous eight Asian Cup finals appearances, the site translated their nickname "Al Abyad" as "Sand Monkeys". The team's nickname correctly translates as The Whites.
"The Al Abyad or Sand Monkeys reached the finals in eight editions, with their best performance in 1996 as the hosts when they finished as the runners-up after losing to Saudi Arabia…," the report said.
The offensive term has since been edited out of the story on the-afc.com, but the original version is still being used on different websites. Upset about the affair, the UAEFA are consulting with their legal team and have asked for an immediate apology from the AFC.
"The FA will refer the matter to the legal department to address the AFC," said Yousuf Abdullah, the secretary general of the UAEFA. "We reserve our rights against this unfortunate affair, which reveals the racist acts of some of the AFC officials from the eastern part of the continent towards the countries from the western region.
"This is not acceptable and [an] evidence of disrespect towards the others. It furthermore reconfirms that there are racist stands which have surfaced to serve limited personal interests."
Abdullah also made it clear the UAEFA intends to use all means within its "legitimate rights" to make sure such "irresponsible racist behaviour" is not repeated again.
No officials from the AFC were available for comment today.
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