Chinese giants Guangzhou Evergrande will be disciplined after a banner slamming “British dogs” was unfurled by fans during a game in Hong Kong, Asia’s football governing body said Thursday.
The anti-independence banner, which said “Annihilate British dogs, destroy HK independence poison” in Chinese, was held up during Evergrande’s 6-0 AFC Champions League win over Hong Kong’s Eastern on Tuesday.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said Guangzhou Evergrande have been charged “under Article 58 for discrimination and Article 65 relating to spectator misconduct.”
The body did not say when the punishment will be meted out.
Article 58 of the AFC’s ethics code says clubs will be forced to play at least two games behind closed doors over any offensive “words or actions” by their fans concerning political opinions or national origin.
Individual spectators will be banned from stadiums for a minimum of two years for the offence, the code says.
Former British colony Hong Kong became a semi-autonomous Chinese territory 20 years ago, but independence feelings have been running high following mass protests against Beijing.
Tuesday’s game was played in a hostile atmosphere in Mongkok, the scene of rioting last year which involved some pro-independence activists.
Fans from both sides hurled obscenities and gave each other the middle finger, with the Evergrande fans heard chanting “Traitor!”.
One Eastern supporter displayed Hong Kong’s colonial-era flag, which features Britain’s Union Jack, while others booed and swore at the Chinese team.
The AFC said Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale and Lebanese side Nejmeh also face discrimination charges for recent incidents during their matches.