ZURICH: Palestine, already embroiled in one World Cup dispute with Saudi Arabia, has now complained to world federation FIFA about their qualifying match in East Timor writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The Palestinian Football Association has complained that East Timor fielded no fewer than seven Brazilian-born players who were not eligible under international regulations.

Palestine are currently third in Group A of the second round of Asian World Cup qualifiers. They have five points, trailing United Arab Emirates on seven and Saudi Arabia on 12.

East Timor are bottom of the group and gained one of their only two points in the 1-1 draw with Palestine in Dili on October 8.  The East Timor goal was scored by Ramon Saro, one of the seven compromised players selected by Brazilian coach Fernando Alcantara.

Eligibility issues and the failures – deliberate or innocent – of smaller federations to observe them are a constant irritant for FIFA.

Last year Equatorial Guinea were expelled from the African Nations Cup qualifiers for fielding a Cameroon-born player in a tie against Mauritania.

Ironically Equatorial Guinea were later reinstated in the finals as late-choice hosts after Morocco withdrew from staging the event because of the ebola health crisis.

The complaint against East Timor has been notified to FIFA’s acting general secretary Markus Kuttner by senior PFA officials Susan Shalani Molano and Gozalo Boye Tuset.

AFC member

The Asian Football Confederation has also been notified and may undertake its own inquiries. Francisco Kalbuadi Lay from East Timor is s member of the AFC’s executive committee.

FIFA rules state that a player can represent a country if he was born there, has lived there for five years as an adult, or has parents or grandparents from there. Changes of nationality are permissible under certain circumstances.

The players subject to complaint by Palestine are believed to be Ramon Saro, Paulo Helber, Juninho (Júnior Aparecido Guimaro de Souza), Rodrigo Silva, Diogo Rangel, Patrick Fabiano and substitute Jairo Neto. They are not referred to by name in the complaint statement.

Palestine’s dispute with Saudi Arabia has also been referred to FIFA. The Saudis have claimed force majeure as a reason for not wanting to play a World Cup qualifier in the West Bank. An order for the match to be played on neutral territory has been reversed pending further negotiations.

The controversial order was made by a three-man emergency FIFA committee headed by World Cup oragnising committee president Michel Platini assisted by the AFC president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and fellow FIFA executive member Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.

Since then Platini has been suspended from all football activity by FIFA’s ethics committee pending an investigation into a ‘disloyal payment’ from the world governing body in 2011.

The composition of several FIFA committees – including its World Cup supervisory bodies – is due to be reviewed by an emergency exco meeting in Zurich on Tuesday.