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2018 Fifa World Cup Asian qualifying

Hong Kong Football Association fined again by Fifa for booing China national anthem

Authorities plead with fans to be quiet for future games

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 January, 2016, 11:45am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 January, 2016, 8:43am

The Hong Kong Football Association has been fined again by Fifa for booing the China national anthem - though football’s embattled world governing body couldn’t even announce the punishment without creating confusion as to what game they were referring.

The fine of 10,000 Swiss francs (HK$77,150) was handed out for booing the anthem before the home game against China in November, the HKFA said.

But Fifa earlier published a table of global disciplinary measures that mentioned a 10,000CHF fine for booing the anthem during “CHI vs HKG” - which by convention of listing the home team first would refer to China v Hong Kong in Shenzhen in September.

No booing was heard from the small contingent of travelling fans at that game, but there was at the most recent qualifier, the 0-0 home draw against China at Mong Kok Stadium and it was known an investigation was underway. Other fans held up signs that read ‘Boo’.

A spokesperson for the HKFA tried to clarify the confusion caused by Fifa’s apparent typo. Fifa’s document also wrongly abbreviates Hong Kong as HGK rather than HKG when mentioning two previous punishments for booing the anthem.

“According to the written document Fifa sent us, the fine and warning is about the Hong Kong vs China game played on 17 November 2015, i.e. our home game,” said the spokesperson.

“We ... have been communicating with Fifa today to clarify and revise [the Fifa] document.”

In a statement confirming the fine, the HKFA again begged fans not to repeat the booing.

The statement read: “In correspondence from Fifa, the HKFA has been notified of the decision of the Fifa Disciplinary Committee regarding incidents which occurred during the match of the Preliminary Competition of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia between Hong Kong and China played on 17 November 2015 (Article 65 ff. of the Fifa Disciplinary Code).

“The notification states clearly that; ‘The Hong Kong Football Association is liable for the improper conduct among the supporters of its team and is therefore in violation of articles 67 par. 1 and 3 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code’. The HKFA has been fined CHF 10,000 (approx. HKD 78,000) regarding the incident of the booing of the national anthem by the Hong Kong fans.

“Moreover, Fifa has warned the HKFA as its future conduct according to article 13 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code that any further infringements will lead to harsher sanctions. The HKFA would like to request Hong Kong fans to refrain from such action at all future matches so to avoid future sanctions.

The Hong Kong FA has repeatedly pleaded with fans to respect the national anthem, but admit there is little they can do to prevent protests.

Hong Kong have previously been warned by Fifa for booing before a home qualifier against Bhutan, and warned and fined 5,000CHF for a repeat at home to Qatar.