PREVENTION OF PITCH INVASIONS TACKLED
Hong Kong Stadium managers may broadcast announcements in several languages at the Manchester United match this month to prevent a repeat of last month's pitch brawls.
The proposal was raised during the stadium's board of governors' meeting yesterday when a report on the violence-marred Olympic qualifier between Nepal and Malaysia on June 20 was discussed.
Members said lessons should be learned to avoid a repeat of the clashes, especially during the match between Manchester United and South China on July 24.
Board member Fred Li Wah-ming questioned whether a proposal to double the fences was sufficient to bar fans from invading the pitch.
'I'm worried that the fans will rush down to scramble for the clothes of the Manchester United's players, or try touching or hugging them,' Mr Li said.
Colleague San Stephen Wong Hon-ching said the broadcast of announcements should be in the languages of the teams if matches were international.
Stadium manager Choy Chi-mun said the proposal and a suggestion to design a more systematic risk assessment mechanism for events at the venue would be studied.
The report on the violence said that among the crowd of 5,000 were 3,000 Nepalese fans who appeared anxious and started banging their seats when Malaysia scored.
A pitch invasion by Nepalese fans to celebrate their team equalising three minutes before full-time turned violent when a fan who grabbed the ball was hit by the Malaysian players.
The move saw more than 200 Nepali fans attack the Malaysian players, leaving three of them and a coach injured.
There were only 41 security guards and 23 police officers inside the stadium when the fighting broke out. Another 20 officers were stationed outside.
Match organiser, the Hong Kong Football Association, has been fined US$15,000 (HK$117,000) by Fifa for inadequate control and security measures.