Al-Wasl goalkeeper retires

AP, Sunday 18 Mar 2012

Al-Wasl goalkeeper Majed Naser of United Arab Emirates retires from football after 17-match ban by Football Association

Majed Naser
Al Wasl goalkeeper Majed Naser

A goalkeeper for Diego Maradona’s Al-Wasl club has retired, rather than serve a 17-match ban for attacking an opposition coach in its Etisalat Cup semifinal loss.

Majed Naser, who has also played for the United Arab Emirates national team, was slapped with a 17-match ban by the UAE’s Football Association which would have left him on the sidelines for the rest of this season and parts of the 2012-13 season. The Emirati keeper slapped Al-Alhi coach Quique Sanches Flores on the back of the head following his club’s 1-0 defeat, later contending he was provoked by Flores during the match.

Nasser, in a statement sent to The Associated Press Sunday, apologized for his action but said the ban was excessive.

“I admit that my actions were inappropriate and wrong and that I lost control of my nerves but my reaction was due to the provocative gesture made by Al-Ahli coach toward me during the match,” Nasser said.

“I accept the Disciplinary Committee’s decision but at the same time I personally think that the decision exceeded expectations and was exaggerated and harsh and is enough to end my football career,” he said. “I don’t want to be a burden on my club and get in their way of success and development. I have only seen good things from Al Wasl and they have always supported me in every step I took. They should not pay the price of my suspension.”

Maradona, who called Naser’s action unacceptable, has said Al-Wasl plans to appeal the ban but so far the club has not challenged it.

The club confirmed Naser’s retirement Sunday and said in a statement that it hoped he would reconsider.

“Al-Wasl Football Club’s management is surprised from Majed Nasser’s recent comment about his decision to retire from football but at the same time the management understand his frustration and the feelings he is going through following the 17 match ban that he received,” the club said. “Al-Wasl Football Club’s management confirm that they will do all that is possible to convince Majed Nasser to retract his retirement decision. Majed Nasser is a valuable national asset not just to Al-Wasl but also to UAE football as a whole.”

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