FIFA penalized Hong Kong racist to the Philippines AZKALS; fined 33,000 Swiss Franc – HKFA Disappointed

HK football body fined over slurs vs. Azkals

Philippines - The alleged racist behavior and acts of violence of Hong Kong supporters against the Philippine Azkals and Filipino fans during a June 4, 2013 "international friendly" at Mong Kok Stadium drew sanctions from the world governing body of football.

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Acting on the complaint filed by the Philippine Football Federation (PFF), the International Football Federation (FIFA) slapped the host Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) with a fine of 30,000 Swiss francs (roughly 1.4 million) for the misbehavior of fans during the controversial match that the Azkals won, 1-0.

According to the Filipino complainants, a group of Hong Kong supporters shouted racial slurs such as "slave nation" and booed while the Philippine national anthem was being played.

Some Hong Kong fans, they added, even threw bottled water and other debris at the Philippine section, which included some women and children.

The PFF complained that this was in violation of "FIFA regulations on security for international matches and discrimination of supporters."

According to the FIFA disciplinary code, the host association will be sanctioned for the "unruliness" of the fans.

Additionally, the FIFA ordered the HKFA to pay an additional 3,000 francs (148,000) to cover the Filipinos' expenses for the proceedings.

"The decision shows that FIFA vigorously implements the non-discrimination provisions of the FIFA statutes wherever the conduct is displayed and whoever the guilty party is. It also stressed the responsibility of the host member association for the spectators' conduct in any friendly match in its territory," the PFF said in a statement yesterday.

"Indeed, any discriminatory conduct or acts of violence during any football match cannot be condoned. Football should unite and not divide," it added.

Azkals team manager Dan Palami, who witnessed and experienced the incident, expressed hope it would not be repeated.

"Certainly, racism and disrespect for another country and its people do not have room in any sport, especially in the beautiful game of football. We are optimistic that this sad incident will not be repeated, not just in Hong Kong but in any other country that the Azkals will play in," Palami was quoted as saying by the ABS-CBN News Channel.

The HKFA, meanwhile, expressed disappointment over the FIFA decision and maintained it was just a "minor incident" involving a few Hong Kong fans.

"In my opinion, the incidents were very minor in nature and there was significant provocation by a number of the Philippine players," said HKFA chief executive officer Mark Sutcliffe.

"Having said that, we do not condone any acts of violence or racial discrimination and… we will implement stadium bans on any individuals convicted of an offense of this nature," he said.

Sutcliffe added that they may appeal the FIFA decision. – philSTAR


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