Hong Kong Football Association may segregate fans in bid to curb racism
Football association unveils response to taunts directed at Philippine fans in friendly match
Opposing fans could be segregated for the first time under measures unveiled by the Hong Kong Football Association last night to tackle racism at matches.
In its first response to allegations of racist and discriminatory acts at the international friendly between Hong Kong and the Philippines last week, the association outlined a number of actions to avoid such incidents in the future.
- Formalising "risk assessment" protocols and ensuring an anti-discrimination officer is present at matches;
- Possibly segregating fans and using designated seats as part of the risk assessment process;
- Working with the authorities to identify fans who transgress;
- Making public announcements warning fans of the outcome of using racist language and asking them to respect national anthems.
"The HFKA will not tolerate any acts of racism or discrimination from spectators, players, coaches or administrators and will take the appropriate action against offenders," the association said.
Ground stewards will also receive further training and work with law enforcement agencies to identify and eject anyone engaging in racist activity.
And an education action plan will be prepared in accordance with a recent resolution by Fifa, soccer's world governing body, to fight racism and discrimination.
The association submitted an initial investigation report to Fifa yesterday, despite not receiving any official request from either the Philippines Football Federation or the world governing body, according to chief executive Mark Sutcliffe.
Sutcliffe would not reveal the findings, "in view of the fact an official Fifa investigation may be carried out".
The Philippine federation said on Thursday that it had asked Fifa to investigate allegations its supporters were subject to racist abuse, including chants they were "all just slaves".
The HKFA, which has also written to the Philippine consulate, stressed Hong Kong fans had a good record of behaviour and it was "the first incident of this nature at a football match in Hong Kong".