ZURICH (Reuters) - Yemen have forfeited their World Cup qualifier against North Korea, a match they made a Herculean effort to take part in, after fielding an ineligible player, FIFA said on Monday.
Yemen, officially the home side for the match played in Qatar, lost 1-0 on the pitch on June 11.
But that became a 3-0 walkover after the disciplinary committee of world soccer’s governing body ruled that they fielded Mudir Abdurabu Ali Al Radaei who should have been serving a one-match ban for an accumulation of yellow cards.
The decision meant North Korea leapfrogged the Philippines to go top of Asian zone Group H on goals scored. Both teams have six points from their opening two games, while Yemen have lost their first two matches without scoring.
Yemen, coached by the Czech Republic’s Miroslav Soukup, were unable to play at home because of fighting in their country.
Photographs posted on Facebook showed the team sitting and sleeping on the cramped deck of a boat on a 13-hour crossing to Djibouti, on the African continent, which media reports said was the only way for them to leave Yemen.
Last week, Barbados were knocked out of the competition for the same offence. They beat Aruba 3-0 on aggregate in a two-leg tie, after winning the return 1-0, but this became a 3-2 defeat after Aruba were awarded a 3-0 win in the second leg.
Indonesia, who should have been in Group F, were expelled in June after FIFA suspended the country’s football association because of government interference in the domestic league.
Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; editing by Ken Ferris