Timor-Leste banned from 2023 Asian Cup for falsifying player documents

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have banned Timor-Leste from participating in the 2023 AFC Asian Cup for falsifying documents of their Brazilian-born players.

The AFC issued a statement on Friday, revealing a probe that was conducted in conjunction with FIFA in June last year. They looked into the eligibility of several Timor-Leste players after qualifying matches for the 2019 Asian Cup, which will be held in the United Arab Emirates.

"The investigation identified twelve Brazllian-born footballers that were registered in the AFC Administration System with falsified Timorese birth or baptismal certificates," AFC said in the statement.

"These documents were submitted to the AFC to demonstrate that the footballers were eligible to participate for FFTL [Timor-Leste FA] representative teams through one or both of their parents being born in Timor-Leste. Such particulars were found to have been falsified."

A total of nine Timor-Leste players, who had falsified documents, took part in 29 AFC matches, and seven of those games fell under the jurisdiction of FIFA.

All 29 matches have been forfeited, together with a suspended fine of $56,000.

"The investigation made no finding regarding the validity of the Timor-Leste citizenship held by those footballers. That is a question for the state authorities of Timor-Leste," the AFC said.

FFTL's General Secretary Amandio de Araujo Sarmento has received a three-year ban while another official was given a $3,000 fine for bringing the game into disrepute.