African football taking new measures to combat age cheating

African football taking new measures to combat age cheating

by Mark Gleeson

Saturday Sep 21, 2019. 12:00

African football is taking new measures to ensure there is no repeat of the age cheating issues that beset their last age group competition and saw Guinea banned from playing at the U-17 World Cup.

A panel of doctors to supervise MRI scans of players’ wrists, which FIFA says are up to 99 percent accurate in determining the ages of players 18 years and under, is to be set up after a training seminar in Cairo next week, the Confederation of African Football announced.

Previously the scans were conducted by the individual countries, leaving the door open for fraud.

Guinea, who finished runners-up at the U-17 African Championship in Tanzania in April and thereby qualified for the U-17 World Cup in Brazil in November, were disqualified after passport irregularities.

But the suspicion that some countries are also committing fraud with the MRI scans overshadowed the tournament and has dictated the need for a different method of checking.

“Thirteen medical practitioners drawn from the six CAF Zones will participate in the two day event that will set the tone for the formation of the panel of experts who will be tasked with the responsibility of organising and supervising MRI controls within their zones and member associations,” said a CAF statement.

“Their inputs will also be essential in ensuring that CAF can maintain an accurate database of players who participate in underage competitions.

“As part of the course, there will be practical sessions at the Al Salam Hospital in Cairo, where the participants will be taken through the procedures and technicalities involved in ensuring precise MRI results.

“The Instructors are Yacine Zerguini (Algeria), Vice President of CAF’s Medical Committee, Prince Pambo (Ghana), member of CAF’s Medical Committee and Michiko Dohi (Japan), member of AFC Medical Committee,” the statement added.

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