‘Laughing stock’ Hong Kong football referee suspended for three months after Sapling Cup match error
- Referee asked Eastern to concede a goal after scoring controversial equaliser
- No betting irregularities reported in match despite mistake
Referee Tong Kui-sum has been suspended for three months after his controversial suggestion that would have made Hong Kong football “a world laughing stock” according to Eastern coach Chan Yuen-ting.
In a statement made by the Hong Kong Football Association referees committee, Tong, one of the most experienced match officials in Hong Kong and a former Fifa referee, was given the sentence after committing an error during a Sapling Cup group match between Eastern Long Lions and Wofoo Tai Po on December 16.
“Tong made a mistake in the match by requesting Eastern concede a goal,” the statement read. “Tong is an experienced referee and he made an error.
“He will be suspended for a period of three months with immediate effect until March.”
The committee said they reviewed the incident before reaching the decision.
Eastern coach Chan claimed in a Facebook post after the match that Tong had requested her side concede a goal after they made it 1-1 through striker Everton Camargo following a throw-in.
Tai Po players said Eastern should have given the ball back to them as the throw-in was made because of an injury to one of their players, Wong Cho-sum. Tai Po went on to win the match 2-1.
Chan said if Eastern had followed what the referee told them, it would possibly turn Hong Kong football into a global laughing stock.
The match was covered by French television as Chan was under the guidance of her French mentor, Corinne Diacre, through a Fifa coaching programme.
Despite the incident, the referees committee concluded there were no betting irregularities following consultation with Sportradar.
The Swiss company provides the HKFA, football federations around the world and law enforcement agencies with a system for detecting betting-related match fixing.
“We were informed that Sportradar had monitored the match and the report following the match stated there was no pre-match betting witnessed,” the statement said.
It added that the “match was not suspicious from a betting perspective” and said that Tong’s integrity remained intact.