The Asian Football Confederation has apologised for referring to the United Arab Emirates as the "Sand Monkeys".

The nickname appeared on the AFC's website on Friday and prompted outrage in the Gulf nation with UAE FA secretary general Yousuf Abdulla threatening legal action and accusing the governing body of "racist acts".

The team's actual nickname is Al Abyad, or The White.

The AFC attempted to diffuse the row by issuing a statement which read: "The AFC apologises for an editorial mistake in which the UAE national team was inadvertently referred to by an inaccurate nickname on the AFC's official website.

"The error, which was mainly because of referral to a popular web-based encyclopaedia by the concerned editor, was corrected immediately after it was noticed.

"The AFC would like to apologise for any hurt this might have caused to the UAE Football Association and UAE football fans.

"The UAE FA are one of the AFC's valued member associations and the AFC will continue to extensively cover the UAE national team and UAE league activities."