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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

UAE and Palestine included in Asian Games football tournament after accidentally being omitted

A 'computer glitch' blamed for the mistake that had led to the two sides not being in original draw for competition

AFC general secretary Dato' Windsor John, centre, at the Asian Cup draw in the UAE in May, blamed a "computer glitch" for how the UAE and Palestine got to be left out of the Asian Games draw. AFP
AFC general secretary Dato' Windsor John, centre, at the Asian Cup draw in the UAE in May, blamed a "computer glitch" for how the UAE and Palestine got to be left out of the Asian Games draw. AFP

The UAE and Palestine were on Wednesday officially added to the football tournament at the Asian Games after they were accidentally omitted from the original draw.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) conducted a limited re-draw at their headquarters in Kuala Lumpur to include the two sides alongside 24 others taking part in football at the Games, which begins next month in Indonesia.

AFC secretary-general Dato' Windsor John said Games organisers failed to pass the names of UAE and Palestine to his body for the initial draw, even though both teams had attempted to register.

John said he was not sure what caused the problem, adding "it could be some computer glitch, it could be some communication breakdown".

He stressed the AFC was not running the competition, and was conducting the draw on behalf of the Olympic Council of Asia and the Indonesian organising committee.

Palestine was placed in Group A with Indonesia, Hong Kong, Laos and Taiwan. The UAE, whose Under 23 side managed by Maciej Skorza, was placed in Group E with South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia and Bahrain.

It was the latest problem to hit the run-up to the Games, which are being held in Palembang and the capital Jakarta from August 18-September 2.

At the weekend irate Indonesian football fans ripped plastic seats from the stands and hurled them onto a pitch at a stadium in Palembang scheduled to host matches at the Games.

Indonesia has been scrambling to prepare venues, finish building work, widen roads and ease traffic congestion.

About 11,000 athletes and 5,000 officials from 45 Asian countries will take part in the world's biggest multi-sports event after the Olympics.