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FIFA fines Qatar after players' political support for Emir


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GENEVA (AP) — FIFA has fined Qatar's soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country's Emir at a World Cup qualifier.

FIFA said Thursday its disciplinary panel imposed a 50,000 Swiss francs ($51,800) fine and reprimanded Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host.

The charges related to "displaying a political image" and "political displays" by fans at a 3-2 win over South Korea in Doha, FIFA said.

Qatar player Hasan Alhaydos was also fined 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,180) for unsporting unbehavior.

The incidents happened on June 13, amid a dispute with regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates which have sought to isolate Qatar.

Qatar's players warmed up for the game wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him.

Fans in the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium also wore and displayed images of the Emir.

After Alhaydos scored the opening goal, he took a T-shirt from a spectator and lifted it high in the air.

In other FIFA decisions announced Thursday, a range of sanctions was imposed on host Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece after a volatile end to a World Cup qualifier in June.

Trouble flared between players and coaching staffs who were charged with offensive behavior after the final whistle of a 0-0 draw in Zenica.

Bosnia's assistant coach Stephane Gilli was handed a six-month suspension from matches after punching a Greece player in the face. Gilli said on his verified Twitter account this month that his contract has been canceled.

Muhamed Besic, the Everton midfielder, was fined 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,180) and banned for one match. He will miss Bosnia's Aug. 31 game at Cyprus.

Bosnia forward Edin Dzeko's clash with Kostas Manolas of Greece seemed to start the dispute. The Roma teammates were each fined 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,590).

FIFA banned Bosnia from using the Zenica stadium for one match and imposed a fine of 30,000 Swiss francs ($31,150) for a range of charges, including booing the Greek national anthem before the game.

Serbia's federation was fined 22,500 Swiss francs ($23,400) for fans' political chants and banners at a home qualifier against Wales.

FIFA again acted against Mexico for a long-standing problem with its fans chanting gay slurs at opposing teams' goalkeepers. Fines of 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,400) were imposed for incidents at each of Mexico's home qualifiers in June against Honduras and the United States.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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GRAHAM DUNBAR

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