Persepolis striker Alekasir's six-month ban upheld by AFC

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Persepolis’ Iranian striker Issa Alekasir’s appeal against a six-month ban has been rejected by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), meaning the 30-year-old will not be available for next month’s Asian Champions League final.

Alekasir was suspended and handed a $10,000 fine after making a slant-eyed gesture to television cameras in his side’s 2-0 win over Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor in the Asian Champions League quarter-finals in Qatar last month.

The AFC announced on Thursday that the request to overturn the punishment had been dismissed and that their appeal committee “upheld the sanction imposed in the AFC Disciplinary and Ethics Committee decision in full”.

Alekasir will therefore miss Persepolis’ meeting in the final with the top team from the east of the continent.

The Iranian side secured their place in the showpiece game after beating Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr in a penalty shootout without Alekasir, who had scored four times in the three games in the competition prior to his suspension.

The Asian Champions League resumes on Nov. 18 when teams from the east converge on Qatar to play in a centralised tournament to decide who will face the Iranian champions in the final, which is due to be held in Doha on Dec. 19.

Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Ken Ferris