The mistake in an article on the AFC website set off a storm of criticism in the Gulf country. The UAE Football Association's Yousuf Abdulla demanded an apology and called the wording an "unfortunate affair" which "revealed some racist acts by some AFC officials."
The AFC said Monday it wanted to "apologize for any hurt this might have caused to the UAE Football Association and UAE football fans."
The AFC called it a "genuine mistake" inserted by a new writer who saw "Sand Monkeys" wrongly listed as the team's nickname on its Wikipedia page. The team's actual nickname is Al Abyad, or The White, and the Wikipedia page has been corrected.