FIFA fines Hong Kong soccer body for China anthem protest

China-protest

Hong Kong soccer fans turn their back and boo the Chinese national anthem as they chant "Hong Kong is not China" during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 soccer match between Hong Kong and Iran, in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. (Kin Cheung / AP)

ZURICH — FIFA has fined Hong Kong’s soccer 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 Sept. 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 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 Nov. 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 francs ($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 soccer federation was fined 30,000 Swiss francs ($30,150) for a pitch invasion by fans at a game against Chad.

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