THE Philippine Football Federation welcomed the decision of football’s world governing body Fifa to take action against the Hong Kong Football Association over the racist abuse the Azkals and their fans experienced during a friendly at Mong Kok stadium last year.
Fifa slapped a fine of 30,000 Swiss Francs or roughly P1.4 million to the HKFA, and another 3,000 Swiss Francs to cover the cost of the investigation over unruly fan behavior in the June 4 match which saw home fans throw water bottles, shout profanities, and make obscene gestures at Filipino players and spectators after the Azkals’ 1-0 win.
Aside from team rivalry, the fan behavior was also linked to a 2010 hostage crisis in Manila that resulted in the death of nine Hong Kong tourists and injuries to several others. Home fans at Mong Kok stadium put up a banner that read: “Lest we forget, 23/8/2010 Manila."
“The decision shows that Fifa vigorously implements the non-discrimination provisions of the Fifa statutes wherever the conduct is displayed and whoever the guilty part is,” the PFF said in a statement released to media outlets on Sunday.
“It also stressed the responsibility of the host Member Association for the spectators’ conduct in any friendly match within its territory.”
“Indeed, any discriminatory conduct or acts of violence during any football match cannot be condoned. Football should unite and not divide,” the statement concluded.