Football: Fifa sanctions Malaysia for crowd trouble during World Cup qualifier

Flares burn on the pitch after Malaysian fans threw them there during their national team's 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying football match against Saudi Arabia in Shah Alam on Sept 8, 2015.
Flares burn on the pitch after Malaysian fans threw them there during their national team's 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying football match against Saudi Arabia in Shah Alam on Sept 8, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

LAUSANNE (AFP) - World governing body Fifa on Monday announced a series of sanctions against the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) as punishment for the crowd trouble that wrecked the World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia on Sept 8.

Militant fans angry at the 10-0 humiliation in a previous match to the United Arab Emirates fired flares billowing orange smoke at Shah Alam Stadium as Malaysia trailed the Saudis 2-1 in the final minutes of the tie.

Players and officials then hurried from the field and Saudi fans ran from the stands as flares flew around the stadium.

Eleven people were arrested but no one was reported injured.

Fifa's disciplinary committee said in a statement that its investigation of the incidents showed that FAM was "liable for the spectators behaviour".

As a result Malaysia's next home match - a World Cup qualifier against the Emirates on Nov 17 - is to be played behind closed doors.

FAM will also be fined 40,000 Swiss francs (S$58,000) and issued a warning.

Furthermore, the committee decided that the match be declared lost by forfeit by Malaysia 0-3.

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Sheikh Salman has already said the regional body was "extremely concerned" by the violence and would support any investigation by Fifa.

The crowd trouble at the Saudi game has been blamed on the "Ultras Malaya" group of hardcore supporters, who accuse the FAM of incompetence and had threatened to disrupt the match.