UAE U-17 coach accuses rivals of fielding overage players

Amid claims that the majority of players competing at the World Under-17 World Cup are overage, a FIFA spokesman has insisted that all 24 nations competing in the UAE complied with their pre-tournament testing programme.

UAE coach Rashed Amir reacted to his side’s 6-1 defeat to Brazil on Sunday night by claiming that “70 per cent” of the players in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup are overage.

The coach blamed FIFA for allowing players exceeding the age limit into the tournament.

Unfortuntely, given the gravity of the allegations, Amir was unable to name names and made it clear he wasn’t talking about Brazil or any other team specifically but did say that he will be lodging a complaint to FIFA.

Prior to the tournament kicking off FIFA said they planned to tackle the problem by undertaking MRI wrist scans randomly on four players from each team before the tournament. The tests were completed by October 16, the day before the World Cup kicked off.

“At least 70 per cent of the players we have seen here, I think, are over 17,” said the UAE coach. “We are a young team and only four players have experience of playing in other youth competitions.

“We are preparing for the Asian Under-19s Cup next year so we are getting experience for the players. I will be sending a memorandum to FIFA, who I blame for the existence of overage players.”

FIFA insist they are yet to receive any official complaint from Amir following his claim.

“We can inform you that since the final competition of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup UAE 2013 started, the Disciplinary Committee has not received any official complaints in the regard of players exceeding the age limit,” said a FIFA spokesman.

“In order to protect the integrity of the tournament and in the spirit of fair play, FIFA has conducted MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) of the wrist prior to the FIFA Under-17 World Cup UAE 2013.

“Four randomly selected players per team have been tested in the UAE under the supervision of FIFA’s medical experts.”

Brazil coach Alexandre Gallo, formerly of UAE champions Al Ain, moved to distance himself from the remarks, saying: “We don’t have any overage players, we pay so much attention to that. In Brazil, the clubs and the FA pay a lot of attention to that.

“Most of the players in Brazil start at a very young age and most of them have contracts with leading clubs.

“Their age has been verified and monitored throughout their careers.”

“And another thing is that we have 14 players who play for professional first teams so this generation just has a lot of talent.”