AFC kicks East Timor out of 2023 Asian Cup for faking player documents

KUALA LUMPUR East Timor has been expelled from the 2023 Asian Cup for falsifying documents of several Brazilian-born footballers, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said on Friday.

The AFC disciplinary committee, at its meeting on Thursday held the Federacao Futebol Timor-Leste (FFTL) and its general secretary Amandio de Araujo Sarmento (Amandio), liable for the use of falsified documents. 

Gelasio De Silva Carvalho (Gelasio), an official of the FFTL, was found to bring the game into disrepute.

 ​On June 9, 2016, the AFC opened an investigation into the eligibility of certain players to play for the representative team of the FFTL following the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 (Qualifiers Playoff Round) matches on June 2 and June 6, 2016. The investigation was undertaken in conjunction with FIFA.

The investigation identified 12 Brazilian-born footballers that were registered in the AFC Administration System with falsified Timorese birth or baptismal certificates. These documents were submitted to the AFC to demonstrate that the footballers were eligible to participate for FFTL representative teams through one or both of their parents being born in Timor-Leste. Such particulars were found to have been falsified.

The investigation made no finding regarding the validity of the Timor-Leste citizenship held by those footballers. That is a question for the state authorities of Timor-Leste.

Nine of the footballers participated in a total of 29 matches falling under the jurisdiction of the AFC, and seven matches falling under the jurisdiction of FIFA.

The committee ordered that the FFTL be excluded from the AFC Asian Cup 2023 and fined $20,000. The committee also ordered that Amandio be banned from football-related activity for a period of three years and fined $9,000.

The committee subsequently ordered, with respect to the 29 matches where ineligible players were fielded, that the FFTL forfeit those matches and be fined $56,000, with the fine being suspended for a probationary period of two years.

The committee ordered Gelasio to pay a fine of $3,000 after it found that he brought the game into disrepute by attempting to interfere with a witness.

The decision of the AFC disciplinary committee has been notified to the FFTL. The AFC will request FIFA to extend the decision against Amandio to have worldwide effect and notify that the FFTL fielded ineligible players in seven FIFA matches.