Mayor: Decision over Hong Kong FA good for Fifa

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Monday, January 20, 2014


BACOLOD City Mayor Monico Puentevella, a member of the Fifa Marketing and TV Committee, said the decision made by Fifa on the discrimination issue against the Hong Kong Football Association is a wake-up call for all national teams and fans in the world.

“Good for Fifa and good for football in general. Discrimination has no place in football,” was Puentevella’s reaction after Fifa fined the Hong Kong FA 30,000 Swiss francs ($33,000) following incidents of racial mistreatment toward Filipino fans during last year’s friendly match.

According to Fifa, the Hong Kong FA has violated Articles 58, 65 and 67 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code which states the responsibilities and liabilities of concerned football bodies on discrimination and proper conduct of spectators during matches.

Fifa also ordered the Hong Kong FA to pay an amount of 3,000 Swiss francs ($3,000) to cover the cost of investigation conducted by Fifa’s Disciplinary Committee.

It was recalled that the Azkals blanked Hong Kong, 1-0, in that friendly held on June 4, 2013 at the Mong Kok Stadium.

In a statement, the HKFA said that it plans to send an appeal to FIFA.

“We are disappointed with this initial decision and we reserve the right to lodge a formal appeal once we have been given more information on the grounds for this decision,” Hong Kong FA chief executive officer Mark Sutcliffe said.

“In my opinion, the incidents were very minor in nature and there was significant provocation by a number of the Philippine players. Having said that, we do not condone any acts of violence or racial discrimination and as I stated publicly before, we will implement stadium bans on any individuals convicted of an offense of this nature,” he added.

Azkals team manager Dan Palami said over ANC that, "certainly, racism and disrespect for another country and its people (do) not have room in any sport especially in the beautiful game of football. We are optimistic that this sad incident will not be repeated, not just in Hong Kong but in any other country that the Azkals will play in."

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 20, 2014.

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