With fears Syria may have falsified age documents for their players in the current Under-19 Asian Championships, FFA is leading the charge against a practice John Boultbee has described as endemic.
Football Federation Australia is prepared to lead the charge against age-cheating in junior football after discovering six players in the Syrian under-19 squad which has reached the last eight of the Asian Championships were allegedly born on the same day. Australia last week joined Saudi Arabia in protesting to the Asian Football Confederation about the legitimacy of the Syrian team which drew with the Young Socceroos in the group stage. More significantly, however, FFA's international department head John Boultbee believes it is not an isolated incident, claiming the practice of falsifying documents is 'endemic'.
While praising the efforts of the AFC and FIFA in attempting to address the issue, Boultbee maintains the FFA will continue to apply as much pressure as possible in order to send the appropriate message.
''Age cheating is a serious problem all over the world in under age competitions,'' Boutlbee says.
''There is real difficulty in proving cheating if the passports and birth certificates have birthdates which show that the player is of an eligible age.
''The AFC and FIFA are doing their best to deal with cheating. For example they have brought in MRI testing at the under-16 and under-17 level at which age you can tell the player-s age with some accuracy.
''But the MRI testing does not work for a player who is 18 or 19. So you have to look for other evidence to expose age cheats.''
At the Asian under-19 Championships being played in the UAE, Syria have raised suspicions by listing their entire squad as born in January, with six players allegedly born on the same day, January 1. ' 'They are also physically very mature so we have supported Saudi Arabia with this protest and have, within the rules, asked the AFC to investigate the matter thoroughly,'' Boultbee says.
''The problem for the AFC will still be one of proving the ages of the players, despite the highly suspicious birth certificates and passport birth dates.
''Our team responded in the best way possible in not letting Syria get the better of us. Having topped the group, and qualified for the quarter finals, it is obviously not as important for us in terms of the competition as it might have been.
''However, we feel strongly that the matter of age cheating is endemic, and we will continue to push the AFC to do all they can to come to a decision in relation to Syria, and to continue to send the message that age cheats will not be given an easy road.''
Mooy learns who he'll face in the Championship's opening round
Caltex Socceroos star Aaron Mooy has learned who he’ll face on the opening day of the EFL Championship 2019/20 season with Huddersfield Town. The Terriers – relegated from the Premier League last campaign after two years in the top flight - will host Derby County at The John S
Refreshed Ryan ready for big year with club and country
Mat Ryan says an off-season trip home to Australia with family and friends has him primed for a big year ahead for Brighton and the Caltex Socceroos. The 27-year-old shot-stopper has rarely had an off-season break in recent years as he mixes Premier League football with his co
‘That sums up their passion’: Caltex Socceroos skipper witnesses awesome Matildas moment
Socceroos captain Mark Milligan and coach Graham Arnold were among the ecstatic Australian support watching the Matildas’ stunning comeback victory over Brazil on Friday morning (AEST). The Matildas recorded one of the most remarkable results in FIFA Women’s World Cup history