Syria’s football federation announced on Friday that their national team have been banned from the 2014 World Cup qualifiers by FIFA for fielding an ineligible player.
Syria reached the qualification group phase by beating Tajikistan over two legs — 2-1 in the away leg, 4-0 at home — in a preliminary qualifying tie in July.
However, the Syrian federation was then informed by FIFA that the latter game would be awarded as a 2-0 win for Tajikistan after Tajik officials claimed Syria midfielder George Mourad had previously represented Sweden.
Mourad scored in the away leg on July 23 after coming on as a substitute and also played the final 20 minutes of the return leg on July 28.
In the light of FIFA’s decision, Tajikistan will replace Syria in Asian World Cup qualifying Group C alongside Japan, Uzbekistan and North Korea.
Syrian federation president Farouq Sarriyeh announced that he would petition the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to overturn the decision.
He said he possessed “the necessary documents” from the Swedish federation proving that Mourad was eligible to play for Syria.
Mourad represented Sweden once, playing 13 minutes of a friendly match against Mexico in January 2005.