China

HK fined by Fifa for fans booing Chinese anthem

  • 6 October 2015
  • From the section China
Hong Kong fans at the World Cup qualifying match between Hong Kong and Qatar, in Hong Kong Image copyright AFP
Image caption March of the Volunteers has been Hong Kong's national anthem too since 1997

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.

Mr Brian Leung, the Chairman of HKFA, said: "We will promote the message of 'not booing' on all our media channels and will not punish the fans who threw the object onto the pitch as we don't know who did it."

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption The booing was apparently directed at Beijing's political control rather than the team's poor performance - they lost the Qatar game 2-3

A statement by the HKFA said Fifa had 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 (also known as Burma) on 7 November, followed by a home game against mainland China on 17 November - likely to be of particular concern to organisers given the tensions involved.

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