Philippines files racism complaint against HK football fans
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Football Federation (PFF)has asked FIFA to investigate allegations that Filipino supporters and players were subject to racist abuse during last week’s friendly in Hong Kong, officials said Thursday.
The Azkals won the match, 1-0, but home fans pelted the players and their supporters, many of them women and children, with water bottles and other debris after the match.
The complaint was filed Tuesday after reports of “physical and racist abuse against Philippine players and supporters,” PFF General Secretary Ed Gastanes said in a statement.
A representative of the Asian Football Confederation in Kuala Lumpur said Thursday that it had not received any formal complaint and would only be able to investigate or take action if asked to do so by the Philippines or FIFA. The official declined to be identified, citing protocol.
He said he did not have information of any previous racism complaints in Asia. The latest incident comes as FIFA has toughening punishments for racial abuse.
The complaint contains statements from Filipino fans who said they were called “slaves” and that Hong Kong fans threw bottles at them and booed the Philippine national anthem.
The Hong Kong Football Association last week condemned inappropriate behavior and said it was investigating the incidents. Spokesman Benny Chan said that the HKFA has a “zero-tolerance” approach to racism.
A reporter for the Philippine Daily Inquirer who covered the June 4 match, Cedelf Tupas, said last week that Hong Kong fans were jeering and taunting the Filipinos, including calling their country a “slave nation.”
Tupas said that the hostility intensified after the Philippines scored in the second half. By then, spectators were throwing bottles and juice cartons at the Filipino fans and later the players, Tupas said, adding that others made obscene gestures.
The Filipino fans, who were mostly women and children, made up about 10 percent of the crowd of 4,500.
Some in the southern Chinese city still hold a grudge against the Philippines since a Manila hostage-taking incident in 2010, in which eight Hong Kong tourists were killed in a bungled police rescue. The Hong Kong government has maintained a travel warning for the Philippines since the incident.
Filipinos are also looked down upon in Hong Kong because more than 100,000 of them work as domestic helpers, toiling long hours taking care of children and doing chores for middle-class families for low pay.
Originally posted at 11:39 am | Thursday, June 13, 2013