|Firas Al Khatib of Syria celebrates with teammates after scoring against Japan in Asian Cup Group B match [GETTY]|
Syria have been disqualified from the 2014 World Cup after fielding an ineligible player in qualifiers, FIFA said on Friday.
World soccer’s governing body said in a statement that Tajikistan would be reinstated into the competition in Syria’s place.
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“The Syrian team is disqualified from the competition, losing their second round knockout phase by forfeit,” FIFA said in a statement.
“These decisions are final and binding and not subject to appeal.”
FIFA said the same ineligible player, who has not been named, had taken part in both legs of Syria’s Asian qualifying second round tie against Tajikistan on July 23 and July 28 and a 3-0 defeat had been imposed on them in each match as punishment.
When the matches were played, Syria had won 6-1 on aggregate.
Syria, who have never reached a World Cup finals, were not expected to reach the 2014 edition in Brazil.
Tajikistan will now play in the third round of qualifying, where they are in Group C with Japan, Uzbekistan and North Korea.
Their first game in this stage will be at home to Uzbekistan on September 2.