FIFA fines Hong Kong football for China anthem protest

Hong Kong's football body fined $15,100 after fans boo during Chinese national anthem at World Cup qualifying match.

    FIFA fines Hong Kong football for China anthem protest
    Demonstrators wave black Hong Kong flags in support of anti-government protesters at a football World Cup qualifier match between Hong Kong and Iran [Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters]

    FIFA, football's world governing body, has fined Hong Kong's football federation 15,000 Swiss francs ($15,100) for fans disrespecting the Chinese national anthem before a World Cup qualifying game last month.

    Hong Kong fans booed and turned their backs when the anthem was played for their team before a September 10 qualifier at home against Iran.

    The game took place amid ongoing pro-democracy protests against China's rule of Hong Kong, which was under British rule until 1997.

    FIFA said on Wednesday the charge against Hong Kong was "disturbance during national anthems; use of objects to transmit a message that is not appropriate for a sports event".

    Hong Kong, which lost 2-0 to Iran, has its next home game on November 14 against Bahrain.

    Also, FIFA fined Indonesia 45,000 Swiss francs ($45,300) for fan disorder in a home qualifier against neighbouring Malaysia.

    The game was suspended for several minutes late in the second half because of clashes between fans. Malaysia won 3-2 with a goal in the seventh minute of stoppage time.

    FIFA warned Malaysia a first time for its fans' lack of discipline and throwing objects, and again for lack of order in its own stadium days later when hosting a qualifier against the United Arab Emirates.

    After crowd disturbances at Sierra Leone's home qualifier against Liberia last month, FIFA imposed a 50,000-Swiss franc ($50,250) fine and ordered a home game to be played in an empty stadium.

    Sierra Leone was eliminated and the punishment should be served at a qualifying game for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

    Sudan's football federation was fined 30,000 Swiss francs ($30,150) for a pitch invasion by fans at a game against Chad.

    SOURCE: AP news agency