Asian Cup host United Arab Emirates has been fined $150,000 by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Disciplinary and Ethics Committee for “fans’ unruly behaviour” during their AFC Asian Cup semi-final match against Qatar in Abu Dhabi in January 2019.

During the game, Qatar players had to dodge shoes thrown by some spectators at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium. The fans also made “insulting sounds” during Qatar’s national anthem in the politically charged game played amidst a 18-month long ongoing blockade against Qatar. Some UAE fans even got into a fight among themselves after the match, and one of them ran onto the field.

In a statement, the Confederation said that the UAE football team will have to play its home game without an audience during the AFC Asian Cup in 2023.

Qatar won the Asian Cup for the first time this year after defeating Japan 3-1 in the final match.


Omar Hajjar is a journalist based in the UK. An investigative reporter, he has lived in 3 different countries in the Middle East over the past 10 years.

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