Fact Check: Asian Football Confederation Does NOT Plan Rematch After Iraq's defeat To Jordan In Asian Cup Quarter Finals

Fact Check

  • by: Jamal Halaby
Fact Check: Asian Football Confederation Does NOT Plan Rematch After Iraq's defeat To Jordan In Asian Cup Quarter Finals No Rematch

Does the Asian Football Confederation plan a Jordan-Iraq rematch after suspending Iranian-Australian referee Alireza Faghani, who is accused of bias against Iraq that led to its 3-2 defeat to Jordan in the Asian Cup quarter finals on January 29, 2024? No, that's not true: Neither the Confederation nor the Jordan Football Association said there is a rematch. In fact, Jordan advanced to the next round, where it also beat South Korea 2-0 in the semi-finals in Doha, Qatar, on February 6, 2024.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok on February 4, 2024, with a text overlay (translated from Arabic to English by Lead Stories staff) that read:

An Iraq-Jordan rematch will take place on Wednesday (February 7, 2024).

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:


(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Feb 5 14:33:59 2024 UTC)

The 15-second video depicts an unidentified young man speaking Iraqi-Arabic, claiming that Faghani has "confessed" that he intentionally made Iraq lose the game that was held at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on January 29, 2024. A still image of Faghani with a headset appeared in the footage.

A search of "Jordan-Iraq" on the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) website (archived here) did not yield any results about a rematch. An AFC statement (archived here) on February 6, 2024, said Jordan proceeded to the semi-finals, where it took South Korea in the AFC Asian Cup to a humiliating 2-0 defeat.

An AFC timetable (archived here) said Jordan is scheduled to play Qatar for the title at the Lusail Stadium in Doha on February 10, 2024.

The Jordan Football Association (JFA) did not mention any AFC request for a rematch with Iraq on its website (archived here). A JFA statement on February 5, 2024 (archived here), said (as translated) the national football team, known as "نشامى," or "Nashama," Arabic for "the brave," has "completed its physical and technical training, in preparation for facing South Korea, at 6 p.m. ... on February 6, [2024] at Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium in Doha, in the semi-finals of the 2023 Asian Cup."

CNN reported on February 2, 2024 (archived here), that Faghani sent off Iraq striker Aymen Hussein after showing him a second yellow card for "excessively delaying the restart of the game" during the team's celebrations for its second goal during the 3-2 defeat to Jordan in the tournament's round of 16 on January 29, 2024. It said Iraq had "just taken a 2-1 lead in the 75th minute when Hussein was shown a red card by Faghani. Iraq played the final 15 minutes of regulation time with just 10 men and Jordan went on to win the match 3-2 with two injury-time goals."

An online petition (archived here) calling for Faghani, an experienced referee who has officiated multiple men's World Cup matches and who was named AFC Referee of the Year in 2016 and 2018, to be suspended pending an investigation has more than 810,000 signatures as of February 5, 2024.

But AFC and Australia's governing soccer body, Football Australia, threw their lot behind Faghani.

Without naming him, AFC said in a statement on January 30, 2024 (archived here), that while the Asian group "does not comment on individual refereeing performances, we strongly condemn any form of threat, harassment, or disclosure of personal information targeting our referees, players, officials and all stakeholders." It added: "Such behavior goes against the spirit of fair play and respect that we promote within the Asian football community."

In another statement on February 1, 2024 (archived here), AFC said "Aymen Hussein excessively delayed the restart of the game after scoring a goal in the 75th minute." It pointed out that during the player's celebrations, "the referee strongly warned Aymen Hussein three times before finally showing him the second yellow card." It concluded: "In this regard, the second caution issued to Aymen Hussein was the correct decision by the Referee, as per the Laws of the Game."

Football Australia (archived here) said it is "supporting Alireza Faghani after the referee was targeted online following his officiating of Iraq's dramatic Asian Cup loss to Jordan."

  Jamal Halaby

Jamal Halaby is a fact-checker, who has been working with Lead Stories for nearly two years, helping bring the truth and factual information to the organization's global audience. With extensive background in investigative journalism and content writing and editing in Arabic and English, Jamal uses that experience to expose a burgeoning market of misinformation and disinformation. Previously, he worked as a writer for the Associated Press and several other reputable international news organizations. He has a passion for empirical analysis and discerning the veracity of the news.

Read more about or contact Jamal Halaby

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