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Asian Cup hosts UAE punished for shoe, bottle barrage

Asian Cup hosts UAE punished for shoe, bottle barrage

The United Arab Emirates were fined $150,000 and ordered to play a match behind closed doors after home fans pelted Qatar players with shoes and bottles in ugly scenes during an Asian Cup semi-final defeat.

The tournament hosts were punished following January’s combustible 4-0 loss in Abu Dhabi, when plastic water bottles and footwear — a traditional insult — were hurled at the Qataris, the eventual Asian Cup champions.

The Asian Football Confederation’s disciplinary and ethics committee handed out the sanctions for infringements related to spectator conduct and match organisation.

Along with the fine, the UAE were told to their play next home qualifier for the 2023 Asian Cup “without spectators” in an empty stadium, a statement said late on Monday.

The Asian Cup was held in the midst of the transport and diplomatic blockade of Qatar by several countries, including UAE, who accuse it of supporting terrorism — a charge Doha denies.

As a result Qataris are generally barred from UAE, meaning the Maroons were largely devoid of their own fans as they romped to their first Asian crown — three years before hosting the World Cup in 2022.