AFC apologises for online UAE football 'mistake'

Asian Football Confederation says sorry 'for any hurt' caused by nickname error

The Asian Football Confederation has formally apologised for an "editorial mistake" that led to the UAE national team being referred to as "sand monkeys".

The AFC said it was sorry for the error in a report on its website which used "an inaccurate nickname".

It added that the mistake was made due to a website editor's reliance on inaccurate information gleaned from a popular web-based encyclopedia.

The AFC statement said that the mistake "was corrected immediately after it was noticed".

"The AFC would like to apologise for any hurt this might have caused to the UAE Football Association and UAE football fans," the statement said.

"The UAE FA are one of the AFC’s valued Member Associations and the AFC will continue to extensively cover the UAE National Team and UAE League activities," it added.

The apology followed concerns raised by the UAE's football federation over the "sand monkeys" slur.

Yousuf Abdulla, secretary general of the UAEFA, on Sunday accused some AFC officials of "racist acts", claiming the "poor language" was used by officials from the eastern part of the continent towards the countries from the western region.

The secretary general urged the AFC to submit an official apology as soon as possible.

The UAE football team is usually referred to as "Al-Abyad", or the whites, based on the colour of their outfit.

But an AFC report on a friendly between the UAE and Uzbekistan on Friday described the team of the Gulf state as "sand monkeys".

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