The June 4, 2013 football game between the Philippine Azkals and the Hong Kong team was supposed to be a friendly game, but the fans in Hong Kong apparently didn’t get the memo.
Racist Fan Behavior
FIFA has fined the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) due to the alleged racist behavior of its fans in a friendly match against the Philippines last year. The Philippine team beat their Hong Kong counterparts, 1-0, in that game.
The governing body of world soccer ordered Hong Kong to pay 30,000 Swiss Francs or roughly P1.4 million for alleged racially motivated unruliness directed towards the Filipino players and fans by local fans at Hong Kong’s Mong Kok Stadium. FIFA also ordered the HKFA to cover the Philippines’ expenses for the proceedings, totaling nearly 150,000 pesos.
‘A Minor Incident’
In a statement issued Friday, January 17, and printed by Wall Street Asia, the HKFA conceded that the FIFA Disciplinary Code calls for the host team to be sanctioned for any unruliness from the fans, but downplayed the events as “minor in nature.”
“In my opinion, the incidents were very minor in nature and there was significant provocation by a number of the Philippine players,” said HKFA’s chief executive 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.”