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Saudi Arabian Football Federation Imposes Punishments on Players Ahead of AFC Asian Cup

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In a move that has sent shockwaves through the footballing community, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) has taken decisive action against six players for disciplinary violations ahead of the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar.

The announcement, reported by the Saudi Press Agency, sheds light on the turmoil within the national team as they prepare for one of Asia’s most prestigious football tournaments.

The controversy began with the revelation by Green Falcons coach Roberto Mancini, who disclosed that three experienced players—Salman Al-Faraj, Sultan Al-Ghannam, and Nawaf Al-Aqidi—had been axed from the squad due to their refusal to participate in specific friendly matches leading up to the main event.

The decision sparked outrage among fans and raised concerns about its potential impact on team morale. However, the latest developments indicate that the SAFF has thrown its support behind Mancini, levying penalties against the implicated players.

Goalkeeper Nawaf Al-Aqidi bore the brunt of the disciplinary measures, receiving a five-month suspension and a hefty fine of SR300,000 ($80,000).

His violations included requesting to postpone the team’s camp, expressing reluctance to join the camp through a message containing abusive language, and asserting his belief that he was the third-choice goalkeeper, among other infractions.

Sultan Al-Ghannam, another player implicated in the saga, was fined SR200,000 for seeking an exemption from the team’s camp ahead of the Asian Cup during a meeting on December 28th.

Meanwhile, Salman Al-Faraj, who previously captained the Saudi Arabian team at the World Cup in Qatar, was fined SR100,000 for failing to report to the team camp after being summoned in October.

Additionally, three other players—Mohammed Maran, Khalid Al-Ghannam, and Ali Hazazi—received one-month suspensions and fines of SR200,000 each.

Their punishment stemmed from their decision to leave the national team’s camp after being omitted from the official squad for the AFC Asian Cup, despite the possibility of being included later due to injuries to other players.

The SAFF’s swift and severe response underscores the importance of discipline and commitment within the national team, especially in the lead-up to major tournaments.

While the punishments may seem harsh, they serve as a reminder of the expectations placed upon professional athletes representing their country on the international stage.

As the AFC Asian Cup draws nearer, the Saudi Arabian team finds itself embroiled in controversy, with questions lingering about the cohesion and readiness of the squad.

Only time will tell how these developments will impact their performance on the pitch, but one thing is certain: the stakes have never been higher for the Green Falcons as they vie for glory in Qatar.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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