Football’s world governing body has fined the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) 5,000 Swiss francs (US$5,124) for unruly behavior by fans during the recent Asian qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
FIFA assessed the penalty for a Sept. 8 incident during a match between Hong Kong and Qatar in which fans hurled objects to the pitch and booed the Chinese national anthem, Ming Pao Daily reports.
The decision followed a month-long investigation and means the HKFA does not have to hold Hong Kong’s next match against China, scheduled for Nov. 17, behind closed doors as earlier feared.
FIFA warned HKFA officials against future misbehavior by fans, saying such incidents will incur more severe sanctions.
HKFA chief executive Mark Sutcliffe said the fine was within expectations and did not reach the threshold for an appeal.
Sutcliffe said the punishment will have no impact on Hong Kong’s upcoming matches but he urged fans to restrain themselves to avoid future sanctions.
Meanwhile, HKFA is waiting for word from the Leisure and Culture Services Department whether the Nov. 17 match can be played at the Hong Kong Stadium.
The venue can seat of 40,000. The 12,000-seat Siu Sai Wan sports complex is being considered as an alternative.
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