ZURICH: Guinea have been expelled from this year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup as well as the next two such African championships for fielding two overage players in the recent qualifiers.

Aboubacar Conte and Ahmed Tidiane Keita were lined up in Guinea’s U-17 qualifier against Senegal in Tanzania and the expulsion has been ordered by the Confederation of African Football’s disciplinary commission in Cairo.

Dates of birth submitted before the game indicated that Conte and Keita were born in 2002, which contradicted the pair’s details as they were submitted for a youth tournament in Japan in 2017, which showed their year of birth as 2001.

Guinea finished as runners-up at the U-17 Nations Cup, beating Nigeria on penalties in the semi-final before losing on spotkicks to Cameroon in the final.

Senegal, who originally finished third in Group B, behind Cameroon and Guinea, have thus been promoted into second place.

A CAF statement said:

“The Disciplinary Jury decides unanimously…to impose the following sanctions against the Guinean Football Federation: 

1. That the players Aboubacar Conte and Ahmed Tidiane Keita were not eligible to participate with Guinea in the Final Tournament of the U-17 Afcon played in Tanzania. Because of their participation, the team is excluded from the competition and all its results and achievements during the competition must be cancelled; 

2. That the Guinean Football Federation, following its disqualification, is prevented from representing CAF at the FIFA U-17 World Cup to be held in 2019;

3. That in accordance with the regulations of the U-17 Afcon, the Guinean Football Federation is banned from the next two (editions of the CAF U-17 Afcon); 

4. That players Aboubacar Conte and Tidiane Keita are prohibited from exercising any activity related to football for a period of two years; 

5. That all medals received as ‘finalists’ must be returned to CAF within twenty one (21) days, failing which a financial penalty of $ 20,000 (twenty thousand US dollars) will be imposed; 

6. The Organizing Committee will be invited to reinstate Senegal and the Executive Committee to approve the participation of Senegal as CAF’s 4th representative at the FIFA U-17 World Cup to be held in 2019;

7. That the person responsible for entering the date of birth of the players concerned in the final tournament of the U17 CAN be sanctioned in accordance with Article 135.2 and be prohibited from exercising all football related activities for a period of two years. 

8. That the Guinean Football Federation be sanctioned with a fine of 100,000 USD (one hundred thousand US dollars) for the falsification of the information communicated concerning the participation of the players in the Afcon U-17 tournament organized in Tanzania. Half of this fine, in particular $50,000 (fifty thousand US dollars), is suspended for a period of four years provided that the Guinean Federation is not guilty of a similar offence during this period.

Age cheating has been a persistent problem in African football, with FIFA introducing MRI scans to check the ages of players at the 2009 U-17 World Cup, which was held in Nigeria.