The Chinese Taipei Football Association, Taiwan’s governing body for football, has been fined US$5,000 (HK$38,800) for allowing fans to display a Taiwan independence flag during a match between Taiwan and Cambodia on June 2.
Fans displayed the offending flag by the side of the pitch at the Asia Cup qualifier play-off match at Taiwan’s National Stadium in Kaohsiung, a port city in Taiwan.
A spokesperson from the Association told Taiwan’s United Daily News (UDN) that their staff tried to stop the fans from hanging the flag during the match, but the fans insisted on going ahead with it. Anticipating displays of political materials based on past experience, the Association had sealed off the first two rows to stop this from happening.
The Asian Football Confederation acted according to regulations and fined the Association for displaying political insignia, the Association told UDN.
The Association said that it would forbid fans from bringing banners and flags with political connotations to future matches.
“Taiwan Independent Flag” posted on its Facebook page that “Taiwan people support the Taiwan team. Hanging a ‘Taiwan is not Chinese Taipei’ banner is the most natural thing!”
Meanwhile, Chinese reports sourced from state-backed Huanqiu.com quoted unknown analysts. “Analysts say ‘Chinese Taipei’ is Taiwan’s name for participating in the Olympics and other international sports competitions. If individuals from the public challenge this standard, that will only make Taiwan even more isolated in the international community.”