Chinese fans land Guangzhou Evergrande in hot water for ‘annihilate British dogs, extinguish Hong Kong independence poison’ banner
Supporters unfurl inflammatory banner as Chinese giants crush Eastern 6-0 in AFC Champions League at Mong Kok Stadium on Tuesday
Guangzhou Evergrande of China face punishment from the Asian Football Confederation after their fans displayed a provocative political banner during their 6-0 AFC Champions League win against Hong Kong’s Eastern.
In the closing stages at Mong Kok Stadium, Evergrande fans showed a banner in the away end saying “annihilate British dogs, extinguish Hong Kong independence poison”.
Angry Eastern fans from the nearby stand ran over and tried to confront the visiting supporters but were stopped by security.
“We informed the match commissioner of the banner content, and he has put it in his report to the AFC,” said a Hong Kong Football Association source.
— Football in HK (@offsideHK) April 25, 2017
“This banner is not allowed as they never applied to display it, but we don’t know how they got away with the bag search. We will have to investigate.”
The banner will almost certainly result in a sanction from the AFC, with the regional governing body stating in their safety and security regulations under the political action section that “the promotion or announcement, by any means, of political messages or of any other political actions inside or in the immediate vicinity of the stadium is strictly prohibited before, during and after the match”.
Why have nervous Eastern officials suddenly increased the number of seats allocated to mainland fans before tonight’s Champions League clash?
It is common place for visiting teams to seek approval of any banners which will be displayed by their fans from the AFC officials in charge of each game, usually the match commissioner.
Guangzhou fell foul of the AFC’s marketing and media regulations in 2015 following the second leg of their AFC Champions League final second leg at home to Al Ahli of the United Arab Emirates.
The Chinese Super League side were fined US$160,000 and forced to play one game behind closed doors after numerous breaches including “infringing upon the commercial rights of AFC sponsors” and “significant safety and security failures”.
The Chinese Football Association also received a fine of US$10,000.
The club were also ordered to pay almost US$4 million to automaker Dongfeng Nissan for failing to wear kit sponsored by the company in the 2015 second leg against Al Ahli, which they won 1-0 to win a second AFC Champions League title in three years.
Nervous Eastern officials had already doubled the number of seats allocated to mainland fans from 350 to 700 just hours before the match in a bid to segregate them and avoid crowd trouble, amid fears tickets for home fans may have fallen into the hands of away supporters.
Heavy security was deployed in front of the away end, with both sets of supporters verbally abusing each other throughout the match.
Eastern coach Chan Yuen-ting and her Evergrande counterpart, Luiz Felipe Scolari, said they did not see the banner.
Security stepped up amid fears of crowd trouble as China’s Guangzhou Evergrande fans venture to Hong Kong for AFC Champions League clash
“It was a disappointing result as we expected more from the home game,” said Chan, whose side prop up group G with one point from five matches having lost their opening encounter 7-0 to Scolari’s men.
“Guangzhou are in a class of their own and had some classy goals which our defence found difficult to handle. But we still have made progress from the first match.”
Despite the slippery surface following a non-stop downpour all afternoon, Evergrande went into the break with a 2-0 lead thanks to Brazilian midfielder Paulinho’s strike and an own goal from Eastern defender Josh Mitchell.
After the restart, Evergrande extended their lead with a double from Brazilian Alan Douglas. Paulinho then added his second before substitute Yu Hanchao fired in a free kick.
Watch: Eastern v Guangzhou Evergrande highlights
Evergrande are yet to seal their place in the knockout stages as Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale upset group leaders Suwon Bluewings 1-0 in South Korea.
Scolari’s side lead the table on nine points with Suwon one point behind, while Kawasaki are on seven points.