Wanderley storm hangs over Al Nasr

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) suspended UAE-based striker Wanderley on Friday while it investigates whether the Al Nasr star acquired his Indonesian passport illegally.

The Brazilian-born attacker has been registered as Indonesian since joining the Dubai club in July.

This enables Al Nasr to fill their 'Asian quota', a spot reserved for Asian players outside of the usual three-foreigner limit that applies to all teams in the Asian Champions League and many domestic competitions around the continent.

Wanderley's two goals in the first leg of Al Nasr's 3-0 win over El Jaish of Qatar in the Asian Champions League quarter-final made headlines in Indonesia. The performances led to speculation that the former Flamengo forward could even be called up for the national team.

Talking to FourFourTwo earlier in the week however, Indonesia national team coach Alfred Riedl said he had no idea who the player was.

On Wednesday, Indonesia's Ministry of Justice announced that it had no record of Wanderley adding that that the 27-year-old had never travelled in or out of the country and had never been issued with a passport.

“The AFC has been investigating the implementation of the so-called 'Asian player' or '3+1' rule and its variations within the AFC Member Associations for some time,” the confederation said in a statement released on Friday evening. “The primary purpose for its introduction was to create new playing opportunities for Asian footballers.”

“The AFC has taken note that a number of players not born in the territory of Asia have been obtaining and utilising the nationality of AFC Member Associations in order to purportedly comply with the rule,” the statement continued, adding that the confederation has zero tolerance to all forms of corruption.

The shadow of AFC Champions League expulsion hangs over Al Nasr

AFC rules state that if false documents are found to have been submitted during registration then the player will be deemed ineligible. Sources at the confederation told FourFourTwo that the punishment could be severe, including the possible ejection of Al Nasr from the Asian Champions League.

Al Nasr travel to Qatar for the second leg of their quarter-final against El Jaish on September 14 with a place in the last four waiting for the winners.

While Wanderley's suspension period is 60 days, it is expected that the results of the investigation will be announced relatively quickly.

The AFC has also written to two other players, who have participated or are participating in this year's Asian Champions League, seeking an explanation of how they acquired an Asian nationality.

Photos: Asian Football Confederation