DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Qatar’s bid to qualify for the 2012 Olympics took a hit when FIFA ruled on Wednesday that the Gulf nation had fielded an ineligible player in a qualifying game last November, overturning the initial draw and awarding a 3-0 win to Oman.
Qatar was found guilty of fielding midfielder Abdelaziz Hatim, who was booked against India before picking up another yellow card against South Korea which should have made him ineligible for the Oman match.
As a result, Oman now sits second in Group A while Qatar is four points back in third with only 2 points.
Qatar, desperate to improve its footballing fortunes now that it is hosting the 2022 World Cup, said in a statement that it plans to appeal the FIFA decision. It is also encouraging the team to look beyond the decision and focus on the Feb. 5 qualifying match against Oman and on Feb. 22 against Saudi Arabia.
“The QFA will reveal more details in relation to this case simultaneously with the expected developments we hope will aid in our quest to reach the London 2012 Summer Olympics,” the QFA said, without elaborating.