AFC dismiss Al Hilal appeal

The Asian Football Confederation has rejected an appeal from Al Hilal asserting that Al Ahli fielded an ineligible player in the second leg of their AFC Champions League semi-final.

The Saudi Arabian club submitted a complaint indicating that they believed that Al Ahli's Oussama Assaidi, who was introduced as a second-half substitute, was not eligible to play in the fixture. Al Ahli won the match 3-2 and progressed to the tournament final 4-3 on aggregate.

Assaidi joined Al Ahli from Liverpool in January and had turned out for the Dubai-based club throughout the AFC Champions League.

The AFC have released a statement on the matter, confirming that Al Hilal's appeal had been unsuccessful.

"The AFC Disciplinary Committee (Committee) today dismissed a protest lodged by Al Hilal (KSA) following the AFC Champions League semi-final (second leg) on October 20, 2015," the statement read.
"The protest was filed in accordance with Article 72 of the AFC Champions League 2015 Regulations (ACL Regulations) and alleged that Mr. Oussama Assaidi, who participated in the match for Al Ahli (UAE), was not duly registered with the UAE Football Association in accordance with its transfer rules, a contravention of Article 26.1.2 of the ACL Regulations.
"However, the Committee determined that Mr. Assaidi had been validly registered in accordance with the UAE Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players by the UAE Football Association and, therefore, was eligible to participate in the relevant match.
"The decision has been notified to all affected parties, whom have the right to appeal."

As a result, Al Ahli will be free to play in next month's final against Guangzhou Evergrande.