Sharjah call nationality of Al Wasl’s Fabio Lima into question

Midfielder was originally registered as Brazilian but it was later changed to Uzbekistan and now the club must provide proof before an FA deadline or they could face heavy punishment, John McAuley reports.

Al Wasl have to present evidence of Fabio Lima’s nationality before April 14 or harsh penalties could be handed down. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
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DUBAI // Al Wasl, the seven-time UAE champions, could face heavy punishment should a case brought against them regarding the nationality of Fabio Lima prove successful.

Lima was sent to Wasl last July on a two-year loan from Brazilian side Atletico Goianiense.

Initially, he was registered as a Brazilian with the Football Association. The Dubai club later changed his nationality to Uzbekistan, allowing them to comply with the governing body’s rules concerning the allocation of foreign players.


At present, Arabian Gulf League clubs must abide by the three-plus-one-Asian policy regarding expatriates on the pitch.

Wasl’s foreign contingent comprises Lima, 21, a midfielder; Brazilian forwards Caio and Ederson, and Portuguese playmaker Hugo Viana. Lima is registered as the club’s Asian player.

However, earlier this week Sharjah Club questioned the authenticity of Lima’s Uzbekistan citizenship, claiming they had obtained proof his Uzbek passport number was registered to an Uzbek female reportedly residing in Tashkent.

Sharjah have taken the case to the FA disciplinary committee, who has given Wasl until April 14 to provide the documentation to refute the accusation.

Sharjah have requested the result of last Friday’s match between the two sides, which Wasl won 2-1, be reversed and that the three points be awarded to them instead. Lima played the full 90 minutes at the Zabeel Stadium, taking his tally for Wasl this season to 26 matches. He has scored 11 goals.

Wasl officials could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

According to Al Ittihad, the Arabic-language sister newspaper of The National, the disciplinary committee has asked Sharjah to submit what the club says are “original official papers” pertaining to Lima’s Uzbek passport.

Salem bin Bahyan Al Amri, committee chair, did not rule out consulting government agencies in Uzbekistan and the UAE to inquire about the validity of the passport.

“Let’s not jump the gun and talk about a forged passport,” Al Ittihad quoted Al Amri as saying. “The burden of proof is incumbent on the plaintiff in this case. At present, Lima’s passport is legitimate until proven otherwise.

“The case requires additional review. We might resort to government and official bodies to validate the legitimacy of the player’s passport. This is a serious accusation and it must be thoroughly investigated before a final decision is made.”

If it is ruled the player’s passport was forged, the rules allow for several penalties, including suspension and deduction of points from any matches he played in. Other clubs who lost matches against Wasl would have to submit an official complaint to the disciplinary committee to redeem their points.