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Manila protests to Fifa over Hong Kong abuse

Football bosses unhappy at ‘physical and racist’ tirades during friendly match

Gulf News

Manila: Philippine football chiefs said they had filed a complaint with Fifa about “physical and racist abuse” suffered by Filipino players and fans during a recent game in Hong Kong.

According to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Hong Kong supporters threw rubbish and insults at rival players and fans during the June 4 friendly, which was won by the visitors 1-0.

Sections of the home crowd also called the Philippines a “slave nation” during the game, Hong Kong and Philippine media reported.

“I hope that the international federation, Fifa, will do something about it because this cannot just be ignored or forgotten or pushed under the rug as if it did not happen,” PSC chairman Richard Garcia said on government radio.

“It could have escalated into something worse than just booing and throwing of bottles or whatever to the field. People could have gotten hurt or killed.”

The Philippine Football Federation said it filed a formal protest to Fifa on Tuesday.

“PFF filed a report and complaint with Fifa concerning reports of physical and racist abuse against Philippine players and supporters,” a statement said.

Tensions between the Philippines and Hong Kong, which employs tens of thousands of Filipina maids, have simmered since a bungled rescue attempt by Filipino police of Hong Kong tourists taken hostage by a rogue police officer in 2010.

The fiasco left eight Hong Kong tourists and the hostage-taker dead.

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post in an editorial last week condemned the fans who shouted abuse.

“Racial abuse is nothing to be proud of, not amusing, nor clever; it is shameful,” the editorial said.