Football: Myanmar ordered to play next match without fans

Myanmar will have to play its next match behind closed doors as punishment for a pitch invasion during an October game, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said on Saturday. -- PHOTO: AFP
Myanmar will have to play its next match behind closed doors as punishment for a pitch invasion during an October game, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said on Saturday. -- PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Myanmar will have to play its next match behind closed doors as punishment for a pitch invasion during an October game, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said on Saturday.

The incident occurred in October when dozens of people descended onto a Yangon pitch, cheering and singing, to celebrate Myanmar's defeat of the United Arab Emirates in an AFC Under-19 Championship quarter-final.

The AFC had earlier fined the Myanmar Football Federation $24,000 after finding it had failed "to guarantee law and order as well as safety at the venue".

The ruling by the AFC's disciplinary body said Myanmar must play without spectators in the next match in AFC competitions hosted by the Myanmar Football Federation involving one of its male representative teams. It also imposed an additional $9,000 fine.

Hooliganism at Myanmar's football matches is common. In December 2013, police fired water cannon to disperse rioting Myanmar football fans who tore up seats, burned shirts and hurled stones at officers after the hosts were dumped out of the Southeast Asian Games.