East Timor players lose passports over fake documents: AFC

KUALA LUMPUR: Nine players who represented East Timor have had their passports annulled, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced on Wednesday, as the regional body continues to crack down on the use of falsified documents.

"The Asian Football Confederation has received confirmation from the Ministry of Justice of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste that Timor-Leste passports held by nine footballers have been declared 'null and void'," an AFC statement said.

"The players... are not permitted to be registered in any competition either as Timor-Leste citizens or utilising Timor-Leste passports bearing their name."

All nine men were born in Brazil and include midfielder Diogo Santos Rangel, who played club football for Thailand's Songkhla United last season, and Patrick Fabiano Alves Nobrega Luz, currently on the books of Kuwait's Kazma Sports Club.

Fellipe Bertoldo Dos Santos, Ramon Saro, Jairo Pinheiro Palmeira Neto, Junior Aparecido Guimaro De Souza, Paulo Cesar Da Silva Martins, Paulo Helber Rosa Ribeiro and Rodrigo Sousa Silva complete the group.

The AFC previously announced that East Timor had been expelled from the 2023 Asian Cup for falsifying documents after launching a probe, in conjunction with FIFA, in June last year into the players' eligibility.

The nine participated in a total of 29 matches in AFC events and seven matches falling under the jurisdiction of FIFA. East Timor forfeited all 29 matches played under AFC, which also issued a suspended fine of $56,000.

The country's football federation was also fined $20,000, while the AFC disciplinary committee ordered a three-year ban on general secretary Amandio de Araujo Sarmento.