28 October 2016
"Hong Kong Team Rocks!" A fan cheers for the local football team. Photo: CNSA
"Hong Kong Team Rocks!" A fan cheers for the local football team. Photo: CNSA

Fans vow not to boo Chinese national anthem to protect HK team

Local football fans pledged to behave themselves during the World Cup qualifier match between Hong Kong and China at the Mong Kok Stadium tonight.

They said they would not boo the Chinese national anthem or provoke mainland spectators so as not to draw any penalty from FIFA for the local team, Ming Pao Daily reported on Tuesday.

In case they are provoked, the fans said they would respond by cheering even louder for the home team and chanting “We are Hong Kong!”

Last month, the Hong Kong Football Association was slapped a HK$40,000 fine after local fans booed the Chinese national anthem during the Sept. 8 match.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who was leaving for Manila to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference summit, did not give a direct answer when asked which of the two teams he would support.

Instead, he said: “Unfortunately, there would be no live casting of the game, hence we will have to miss the game.”

As many as 1,200 police officers are being deployed at the stadium, where the game is scheduled to kick off at 8 tonight.

Some 500 mainland football fans are expected to watch the game at the stadium.

China team captain Zheng Zhi said at a press conference on Monday that he respects his opponents, adding that minor conflicts with referees and the other team are just part of the game.

His conciliatory remarks came more than two months after Hong Kong goalkeeper Yapp Hung-fai accused Zheng of calling him a “dog” for allegedly wasting the time towards the end of their goalless encounter in Shenzhen in September.

Edmond, a member of The Power of Hong Kong, a local fans group, urged supporters of the home team to exercise self-discipline during the game.

As early as Monday, police officers were already seen along Flower Market Road and Boundary Street near the stadium entrance.

The owner of Cox Pub on Tung Choi Street said he expects more business tonight, and said he hopes there would be no conflict between fans of the opposing teams.

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