x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

AFC apologises to UAE Football Association after website racism row

The Asian Football Confederation said it was sorry 'for any hurt' caused to football fans after being accused of disrespect by the UAE FA over using a racist term to describe the national team.

The UAE national team in action against Japan during a friendly match
The UAE national team in action against Japan during a friendly match

Asian football chiefs have apologised after sparking a racism row by mistakenly claiming the UAE national team's nickname was the Sand Monkeys.

The UAE Football Association demanded an apology from the Asian Football Confederation yesterday after its website used the term in an article from October 12.

The error is understood to have been caused by the story's author taking the term from the team's Wikipedia page, which claimed the Al Abyad nickname translated as Sand Monkeys rather than "The Whites".

UAE FA secretary general Yousuf Abdullah had claimed the use of the term highlighted 'the racist acts of some of the AFC officials from the Eastern part of the continent'.

But this morning the AFC said in a statement it was sorry for the error, and for offending UAE supporters.

"The AFC apologises for an editorial mistake in which the UAE national team was inadvertently referred to by an inaccurate nickname on the AFC's official website," it said.

"The error, which was mainly because of referral to a popular web-based encyclopaedia by the concerned Editor, was corrected immediately after it was noticed.

"The AFC would like to apologise for any hurt this might have caused to the UAE Football Association and UAE football fans.

"The UAE FA are one of the AFC's valued Member Associations and the AFC will continue to extensively cover the UAE National Team and UAE League activities."

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