Indonesian outfit Persela Lamongan have decided to sign former Lebanon international striker Mahmoud El Ali, who is currently under a lifetime suspension from FIFA due to match fixing scandal.
The 31-year-old, along with former Selangor defender Ramez Dayoub, were accused of illegal betting on several national and continental games concerning Lebanese teams and the national team.
It was also the ban who led El Ali to leave Indonesian competition in 2013, where he last played for Persiba Balikpapan. However, two years on, he came back to the Southeast Asian nation in a controversial fashion.
When asked by Football Channel if he could confirm about his availability, the former Al Ahed talisman refused to comment despite making his debut for Persela in a 3-2 loss to Persib Bandung in the General Sudirman Cup on Sunday.
On the other side, Persela’s management admitted that they are fully aware of the current suspension status on El Ali but still took a risk decision by signing the Beirut-born forward.
“We actually knew El Ali was banned by Lebanese football federation (LFA) and FIFA due to match fixing. But we should not talk about it anymore as you know Indonesia are also under FIFA’s ban now,” said team spokesman, Arif Bachtiar.
El Ali has scored 12 goals in 40 international appearances for Lebanon, where his last goal was against UAE in the 2014 World Cup qualifier.