BC-SOC--UEFA-Ukraine Protest,1st Ld-Writethru
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — UEFA has dismissed protests by defending champion Portugal and Luxembourg about Ukraine fielding Brazil-born forward Junior Moraes in European Championship qualifying games.
UEFA said Friday its disciplinary panel rejected cases from both national federations who played Ukraine in Euro 2020 qualifiers in March.
Ukraine leads the qualifying group after drawing at Portugal 0-0 and winning at Luxembourg 2-1.
Ukraine risked losing all four points and forfeiting both games as 3-0 losses if the 32-year-old Moraes was judged ineligible.
Moraes was this year granted citizenship of Ukraine, where he has played for most of the past seven seasons, currently for Shakhtar Donetsk.
FIFA rules allow players to acquire a nationality if they live continuously in the country for five years. Moraes spent several months playing on loan in China.