Update October 6, 2015

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Hongkong fined by Fifa for fans booing Chinese anthem

Sumel Sarker

Hongkong

Hongkong fined by Fifa for fans booing Chinese anthem

6 October 2015, Nirapad News: The Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) has been fined $40,000 Hong Kong dollars ($5,160; £3,400) by Fifa after its fans booed the Chinese national anthem during a match last month.

An object was also thrown onto the pitch during the World Cup qualifier against Qatar.

Fifa, football’s governing body, previously warned the HKFA over booing.

The anthem has been shared by Hong Kong and mainland China since the former returned to Beijing’s control in 1997.

But anti-Beijing feeling has increased in Hong Kong in the wake of large protests last year against central government plans to impose candidate lists for elections in the territory.

Noting that the object thrown onto the pitch, thought to have been a carton of lemon tea, was an aggravating factor in the punishment, spokeswoman for the HKFA Sarah Lee said: “We will try our best to avoid such incidents in future.”

“We don’t plan to punish fans. What we’ll focus on is to encourage them not to boo,” Ms Lee added, stressing that the football association wanted to encourage a positive atmosphere in which fans cheered the home team.

A statement by the HKFA said Fifa has warned it that “any further infringements will lead to more severe sanctions,” asking fans to “refrain from such action at all future matches” to avoid additional punishment.

The association previously said that it would be “disappointed” if Fifa punished them for the booing on 8 September, which it later blamed on “a small minority of fans”.

Hong Kong’s next international match is against Myanmar on 7 November, followed by a home game against mainland China on 17 November – likely to be of particular concern to organizers given the tensions involved.

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