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FIFA warns HKFA over booing of national anthem

On July 3rd Mr. Vincent Yuen, General Secretary of the HKFA, received a letter from the FIFA Disciplinary Committee regarding the recent booing during the Chinese national anthem before the World Cup Qualifier games against Bhutan and Maldives in June 2015.

While FIFA won’t take immediate action, they sent a warning that the HKFA is liable for improper fan conduct. As a consequence, the association could be fined, if such an incident recurs. In the case of “serious disturbances”, so called “further sanctions” could be imposed as well, which include “an order to play a match behind closed doors, the forfeit of a match, a points deduction or disqualification from the competition.” The booing can be regarded as “uttering insulting words or sounds” (art. 67, par. 3). You can find the full letter as well as the relevant article of the FIFA Disciplinary Code below.

The HKFA will also be liable for the proper conduct of their away fans on September 3rd in Shenzhen, China.

To quote the letter in full:

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Incidents during the Preliminary Competition matches for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia between Hong Kong and Bhutan played on 11 June 2015 and between Hong Kong and Maldives played on 16 June 2015

Dear Sir,

According to information at our disposal, the fans of the representative team of Hong Kong booed their national anthem before the start of the above-mentioned matches.

In this regard, we would like to draw your attention to the contents of art. 67 par. 1 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, according to which the home association is liable for improper conduct among spectators, regardless of the question of culpable conduct or culpable oversight, and, depending on the situation, may be fined. Further sanctions may also be imposed in the case of serious disturbances.

Thus, we would like to highlight that the spectators shall respect at all times the principles of fair play. In particular, those principles shall apply towards the opposing association and its representative team but also towards your own association and its representative team.

In view of the above-mentioned circumstances, the Chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee would like to draw your attention to the above-mentioned provisions and requests you to guarantee that incidents of such nature do not occur again in the future. The FIFA Disciplinary Committee would be left with no other option than to impose sanctions against your association, should such incidents recur.

We would like to thank you for your valuable cooperation in this matter.

Yours faithfully,

FIFA
Bernardo Palmeiro
Deputy Secretary to the Disciplinary Committee

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The mentioned article 67 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code:

Liability for spectator conduct

1. The home association or home club is liable for improper conduct among spectators, regardless of the question of culpable conduct or culpable oversight, and, depending on the situation, may be fi ned. Further sanctions may be imposed in the case of serious disturbances.

2. The visiting association or visiting club is liable for improper conduct among its own group of spectators, regardless of the question of culpable conduct or culpable oversight, and, depending on the situation, may be fi ned. Further sanctions may be imposed in the case of serious disturbances. Supporters occupying the away sector of a stadium are regarded as the visiting association’s supporters, unless proven to the contrary.

3. Improper conduct includes violence towards persons or objects, letting off incendiary devices, throwing missiles, displaying insulting or political slogans in any form, uttering insulting words or sounds, or invading the pitch. 

4. The liability described in par. 1 and 2 also includes matches played on neutral ground, especially during fi nal competitions.

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