The Chinese Football Association (CFA) has apologized for a poster that was widely criticized for showing racial prejudice against the Hong Kong football team.
Brian Leung Hung-Tak, chairman of the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) said Wednesday on Commercial Radio that Lin Xiaohua, vice chairman of the CFA, apologized over the phone about the poster, which was part of a series promoting China’s team as it takes part in the FIFA World Cup qualification rounds.
The offending poster displayed an image of Hong Kong players with the words: “Do not underestimate the opponent. This is a team with black-, yellow- and white-skinned players, a diverse team that we must prepare for.”
Lin said the poster was created by a French designer from a mainland advertising agency and was released without the approval of the CFA’s management.
He said the designer mentioned the different skin colors of the players since he thought of Hong Kong as an international city. The designer did not anticipate the controversy the poster triggered, Lin said.
To fight back, the HKFA designed a poster that said: “Don’t be looked down upon by others.”
Leung said football in Hong Kong has never aroused so much controversy.
He hopes it will encourage several thousand people to watch the match between Hong Kong and China in Shenzhen on Sept. 3.
But Leung urged Hong Kong fans not to boo the national anthem before the match, as that may create hard feelings toward the Hong Kong players and even lead FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, to punish the team.
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