Global news

AFC apologise for 'racist' gaffe

October 16, 2012
By ESPN staff

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have issued an apology to the United Arab Emirates after referring to them incorrectly as the "Sand Monkeys" in an article on their official website.

Zhang Jilong
EmpicsZhang Jilong is the current President of the AFC

The AFC made the mistake after seeing the name written on a web-based encyclopedia and believing it to be the UAE's nickname.

They have since admitted that the nickname, which the UAE labelled racist and "evidence of disrespect", had been used in error and that the reference was fixed as soon as they had realised their mistake.

"The AFC apologises for an editorial mistake in which the UAE National Team was inadvertently referred to by an inaccurate nickname... in the article 'UAE to take cautious approach' dated 12 October 2012," a statement for the Malaysia-based body said.

"The error, which was mainly because of referral to a popular web-based encyclopedia by the concerned editor, 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 UAE's secretary general Yousuf Abdulla said the affair "reveals the racist acts of some of the AFC officials from the eastern part of the continent towards the countries from the western region."

The UAE's nickname is actually Al-Abyad, or The Whites.