FIFA fines Qatar for T-shirts supporting ruler during World Cup qualifier
FIFA has fined the Qatari football association after players from its national team displayed T-shirts of the country's ruler at a World Cup qualifier.
The players wore the shirts to show support for the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, as several Gulf countries continue to impose a blockade on the country for alleged support for terrorism. Doha has denied the charges since the outbreak of the crisis.
The FIFA fine related to "displaying a political image" and "political displays" by fans after Qatar beat South Korea 3-2 in Doha during a World Cup qualifying match.
FIFA said its disciplinary panel imposed a $51,800 fine and reprimanded Qatar for its players' actions.
Hasan Alhaydos, a striker for the Qatari national team, was also fined $5,180 for unsporting behaviour.
Prior to the match taking place, the Qatari players warmed up for the game wearing white T-shirts featuring an image of the Qatari emir to show support for him.
Fans at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium also wore and displayed images of the Qatari ruler.
After Alhaydos scored the opening goal in the qualifier against South Korea, he took a T-shirt with al-Thani's face and lifted it high in the air.
Since the outbreak of the Qatar crisis, images of al-Thani have been emblazoned on buildings and cars across Doha in a show of support for the ruler.
Last month, a FIFA report found that the Qatari World Cup had failed to "meet standards" when using its vast wealth to secure the competition.
The report came after a two-year long investigation compiled by FIFA-appointed US prosecutor Anthony Garcia, that detailed numerous attempts by Doha to influence voting officials.
No suggestion was made that Qatar would lose its right to be the first country in the Middle East to host the World Cup.
The 430-page report was published by FIFA late on Tuesday after parts of it were leaked to German newspaper Bild.
Doha has also faced heavy criticism from human rights groups and trade unions for its treatment of workers tasked with building its multi-billion-dollar stadiums across the country.