HK hit with Fifa fine for anthem protest

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 10 Oct 2019

World football's governing body fined the Hong Kong Football Federation yesterday after fans disrupted the national anthem at a World Cup qualifier against Iran.

Fifa's Disciplinary Commission fined the federation 15,000 Swiss francs (HK$118,268) and reprimanded Hong Kong fans for a "disturbance during national anthems."

The city has been engulfed by anti-Beijing demonstrations and the national anthem, The March of the Volunteers' was whistled by fans on September 10, before Hong Kong lost 2-0 to Iran at Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong are third in Group C of the Asia zone and play Iraq in Basra tonight.

Tonight's match marks the first time in decades that Iraq are playing on home soil. Iraq previously played home matches on neutral territory due to security fears.

Meanwhile, Iranian women are free to enter football stadiums today for the first time in decades, after Fifa forced the country to suspend its male-only policy.

The directive came after a fan dubbed "Blue Girl" died setting herself on fire in fear of being jailed for dressing up as a boy to attend a match.

Women were quick to buy tickets to attend the World Cup qualifier against Cambodia at Teheran's Azadi Stadium.

State media added that the first batch sold out in under an hour and additional seats were also snapped up in short order.

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