ZURICH - Syria have been disqualified from
the 2014 World Cup after fielding an ineligible player in
qualifiers, FIFA said on Friday.
World football's governing body said in a statement that
Tajikistan would be reinstated into the competition in Syria's
"The Syrian team is disqualified from the competition, losing
their second round knockout phase by forfeit," FIFA said in a
"These decisions are final and binding and not subject to
FIFA said the same ineligible player, who has not been
named, had taken part in both legs of Syria's Asian qualifying
second round tie against Tajikistan on July 23 and 28 and a 3-0
defeat had been imposed on them in each match as punishment.
When the matches were played, Syria had won 6-1 on
Syria, who have never reached a World Cup finals, were not
expected to reach the 2014 edition in Brazil.
Tajikistan will now play in the third round of qualifying,
where they are in Group C with Japan, Uzbekistan and North
Korea. Their first game in this stage will be at home to
Uzbekistan on September 2.
Sherali Davlatov, general secretary of the Tajikistan
Football Federation, said justice had prevailed.
"It was a correct decision and we're very happy to be
reinstated," Davlatov told Reuters from the Central Asian
country's capital Dushanbe.
"We feel FIFA has done justice to Tajikistan and especially
to our fans. The Tajik fans will be delighted to see our team
playing against some of the continent's major sides, such as
Japan, Uzbekistan and North Korea," he added.
"Most people will regard us as outsiders but it's not to say
we don't have a chance against any of them because football is
often so unpredictable."
The Syrian football association was not immediately
available to comment.
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