Asian Football Federation AFC logo - Press image courtesy AFC official website
CAIRO – 23 June 2017: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) addressed its member states and urged respect for the principles of political neutrality, according to a statement Friday.
The AFC said that the principle of political neutrality is the cornerstone for the international sports movement, which is reflected in article 3.2 of the statutes of the AFC, which states that “the Asian Football Confederation is neutral in all political and religious matters,” according to Super Kora website.
The AFC also said member states must comply with article 14.4, which states that “the national federations must manage their affairs independently without any interference from other parties.”
The Asian Football Confederation called for disciplinary decisions against any infraction contrary to the principled rules of the statutes, and instructions will be given to match monitors who are appointed to report any misdeeds.
The statement was made after the Qatari national team earlier this month wore shirts depicting Qatari prince Tamim Bin Hamad, with the words “Tamim the glory” emblazoned on it. The incident occurred before a scheduled match with South Korea in the eighth round of the group A Asian qualifiers for the Russian 2018 World Cup.
While AFC did not mentioned the Gulf diplomatic crisis directly, the statement is likely related to the crisis since Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, as well as Egypt and other countries, have cut diplomatic ties with Doha on June 5.
These countries also closed their airspace to Qatari airplanes and barred Qatari vessels from docking in their seaports. Saudi Arabia also closed the border crossing with Qatar, a major lifeline for the country that relies on Saudi for most of its food imports.