Hong Kong warned by AFC over fans' booing of China's national anthem
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has warned the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) over the future conduct of its team's fans after they jeered China's national anthem during a recent AFC Asian Cup qualifying win over Malaysia.
A section of Hong Kong's supporters turned their backs on the national flag and booed during the playing of the Chinese national anthem, "The March of the Volunteers," prior to the start of the game, which Hong Kong won 2-0.
Hong Kong, an autonomous territory in China and former British colony, play against Lebanon on Nov. 14 and the AFC warned "a repeat violation may result in more severe punishment" in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Football fans have been at the forefront of protests in Hong Kong against China's involvement in the running of the city, which reverted to Beijing rule in 1997, with the HKFA previously fined by FIFA for booing of the national anthem.
Chinese authorities recently made it an offence in mainland China to disrespect the national anthem, although those regulations have not yet been implemented in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong sit in second place in their AFC Asian Cup qualifying group, with Kim Pan-Gon and his team attempting to book a place at the finals for the first time since 1968.
China have already booked their place at the Asian Cup in United Arab Emirates after making it to the final phase of World Cup qualification.
Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch