Happy Valley player Lam Hin-ting and head coach Pau Ka-yiu have been banned 10 matches for their roles in the sexual harassment and discrimination of referee Gigi Law.
The Hong Kong Football Association’s Disciplinary Committee have levied 10 match bans against Happy Valley player Lam Hin-ting and head coach Pau Ka-yiu. In addition to the ban, Pau was fined $3,000.
The pair were found guilty for their roles stemming from Valley’s Premier League match versus Pegasus on 21 March. At full time, Lam approached referee Gigi Law and made vulgar remarks towards her in connection with her decision not to book Pegasus’ Nilson for removing his shirt during the match. The full back was shown a red card for his remarks, and after serving an initial one match ban, he has played in four matches for Valley while awaiting Monday’s hearing.
Post-match, Pau complained to the media about Law’s performance and suggested that she was unfit to officiate men’s matches because of her gender.
“This is not about winning or losing. The performance of the referee is there for all to see,” he said, at the time. “Will you please write to the HKFA and tell them not to assign any more female referees? I’m not being sexist (but), they simply can’t keep up with the speed of the (men’s) game.
“How many calls did she miss today? She couldn’t see a goddamn thing. She should stick to officiating women’s league matches.”
On 23 March, two days following the incidents, Law formally complained to the HKFA, accusing Lam of sexual harassment and Pau of sexual discrimination. The DC were set to rule on the matter on 6 April, but the hearing was postponed to 19 April in order give the Committee more time to collect evidence and prepare documents.
Both the player and the head coach were summoned by the DC to give testimony at the HKFA’s headquarters late Monday afternoon. After three hours of deliberations, the DC found Lam in breach of Disciplinary Code Chapter 14, Article 15.2.1 which states that “Anyone who offends the dignity of a person or group through discriminatory or denegratory [sic] words or actions concerning race, colour, language or religion shall be suspended for at least ten matches. Furthermore, a stadium ban and fine shall be imposed.”
Pau was also found in breach of Article 15.2.1 which subjects individuals to a minimum ban of 10 matches in accordance with Title II, Article 13 of FIFA’s Disciplinary Code. Although the DC had the power to dock Happy Valley of points, they declined to do so, and elected instead to issue bans and impose a $3,000 fine against Pau.
According to Chapter 4, Article 9.10, Lam has the option of halving his ban to five matches by paying a fine of $25,000 within 72 hours of the ruling. Should Lam choose to pay the fine, he would miss Valley’s remaining league matches, plus the first round of the championship or relegation group.
When reached for comment, Happy Valley said that they will not appeal the ruling against Lam but would consider appealing Pau’s ban.
Lee Man fined for Sapling Cup withdrawal
The DC fined Lee Man $3,000 for their decision to withdraw from the Sapling Cup in protest. The club were unhappy that their Sapling Cup semi-final against Happy Valley would be re-scheduled after the latter were initially deemed to have forfeited the match as punishment for late payment of insurance premiums.
The club were liable to pay a fine of up to $80,000 according to the competition regulations. The HKFA’s board of directors expressed two weeks ago that they did not wish for “serious punishment” to be levied against the Bees.
Valley and Pegasus, the other club who were found to have unpaid insurance premiums, were not punished over the incident and the matter was not discussed by the DC on Monday.