Hong Kong Rangers have called for greater transparency from the city’s FA after it banned goalkeeper Lo Siu-kei from international football for a year over a breach of Covid-19 rules in Japan. The 20-year-old was found by the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) to have broken Covid-19 protocol while in Japan for an Asian U23 Championship qualifier last October. Eleven other players had previously been handed one-year bans over the incident, in which they were accused of vandalising hotel rooms while drinking. Lo’s ban prompted Rangers to issue a lengthy statement calling on the FA disciplinary committee to end the “secrecy” surrounding events during the under-23 trip, and “release all details of their investigation”. Lee Man’s 22-year-old midfielder Chang Hei-yi also received a year-long ban from internationals on Saturday in relation to the same incident. Rangers said Lo had broken Covid-19 protocol, but backed his claim to have had little involvement in the other misdemeanours. “According to the player, he had heard loud noises coming from a nearby hotel room and went in to check on his teammates out of concern,” the Rangers statement read. “He claimed that he was only in the room for just a short while. Because the player had a clean disciplinary record while at Rangers, our club accepted his version of events. But his actions did violate Covid protocol and therefore our club decided not to fight his charge. Hong Kong football bosses ban 10 players for vandalism and drinking in Japan “However, when the HKFA released the disciplinary committee findings, they only cited the violation of Covid protocol and the punishment taken against the player. “They did not make public the events that took place nor the details of the alleged actions of the players. This has allowed the media to run headlines such as ‘binge drinking incident’, which gives off the misleading impression that all players involved were wasted and disorderly. “We believe that the player committed an offence, but did his behaviour only include a violation of Covid protocol or did it involve more serious offences, such as intoxication and disorderly conduct? Should the HKFA not provide a clearer explanation to the public? Andersen demands ‘professional’ conduct after U-23s drinking saga “Otherwise, if all players are assumed to have been equally wasted and disorderly, it will have a serious impact on their careers and their reputations.” The statement urged the governing body to “create an image of fairness and transparency, and remove all secrecy about what happened”. It said Rangers president Peter Mok Yiu-keung was “deeply concerned” and that Lo was suffering “psychological distress” because his ban was set from May 3, effectively affecting him for longer, whereas the other players’ punishments started at the turn of the year. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Hong Kong Football Association (@hkfa_official) A spokesman for the HKFA told the South China Morning Post that players had the right to lodge appeals after rulings by the disciplinary committee. “When conducting the investigation on the misconduct incident previously, the HKFA came across some relevant information which required further investigation,” it said in a statement. “Upon thorough investigation, we passed the case to the disciplinary committee for a decision. The decision was made on May 3.” The 10 players sanctioned in December were all banned from international football for a year. Lam Hin-ting of Rangers and Tse Ka-wing of HKU23 received the heaviest punishments, as they were also slapped with fines of HK$6,000 (US$765). Jordan Lam Lok-kan, Chu Wai-kwan and Marco Cheung Chun-hin were fined HK$3,000 on top of their bans, while the other five – Max Poon Pui-hin, Ng Ka-yeung, Yip Cheuk-man, Ryan Cheng Chun-wang and Chiu Wan-chun – were not fined. In January, an 11th player, Kitchee player Shinichi Chan, received a one-year ban – backdated to December 22 – for his involvement, along with a HK$4,000 fine.