The Asian Football Confederation  (AFC) has apologized for mistakenly referring to the UAE national team as ‘Sand Monkeys’ .
The comment in an article on the AFC website set off a storm of criticism. The UAE Football Association’s Yousuf Abdulla demanded an apology and called the wording an “unfortunate affair” which “revealed some racist acts by some AFC officials”.
A statement from the Confederation said: “The AFC would like to apologise for any hurt this might have caused to the UAE Football Association and UAE football fans.
“The UAE FA are one of the AFC’s valued Member Associations and the AFC will continue to extensively cover the UAE National Team and UAE League activities.”
Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Al Hussain, deputy director of FIFA, had also tweeted about the comments saying it was an inappropriate mistake and demanded an apology from the AFC to the UAE Football Association.
“This act doesn’t show the game spirit and ethics,” he tweeted.
The AFC called the incident a “genuine mistake” inserted by a new writer who saw ‘Sand Monkeys’ wrongly listed as the team’s nickname on its Wikipedia page.
The team’s nickname is Al Abyad, or The Whites. The Wikipedia page has been corrected.