Football: Fifa fines Hong Kong after fans whistle Chinese anthem

Fans gesture in support of anti-government protesters during the World Cup qualifier match between Hong Kong and Iran, at Hong Kong Stadium, on Sept 10, 2019.
Fans gesture in support of anti-government protesters during the World Cup qualifier match between Hong Kong and Iran, at Hong Kong Stadium, on Sept 10, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

Lausanne (AFP) - Fifa fined the Hong Kong Football Federation on Wednesday after local fans boosed and whistled the Chinese national anthem at a World Cup qualifier against Iran.

The Disciplinary Commission of world football's governing body handed the federation a 15,000 Swiss francs (S$20,800) fine, reprimanding Hong Kong fans for "disturbance during national anthems; use of objects to transmit a message that is not appropriate for a sports events." Hong Kong fields an independent team but because it is an administrative region of China, the Chinese national anthem is played before matches.

The territory has been engulfed by anti-Beijing demonstrations for months and China's national anthem, 'The March of the Volunteers', was whistled by fans on Sept 10 before Hong Kong lost 2-0 Iran, Fifa said.

Hong Kong is third in Group C of the Asia zone and after playing in Iraq on Wednesday, their next home game is against Bahrain on Nov 14.