By Alder Almo (philstar.com) | Updated June 13, 2013 – 5:50pm
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Football Federation formally filed a complaint before FIFA, the world governing body, last Tuesday against the racist abuse experienced by the Philippine Azkals and their supporters in last week’s friendly in Hong Kong.
PFF general secretary Atty. Ed Gastanes confirmed the news to Philstar.com.
“The decision to ask FIFA to conduct an investigation was reached after PFF received the formal report of the delegation head of the Philippine side,” Gastanes said in a text message.
The non-televised FIFA-sanctioned friendly ended with the Azkals winning against Hong Kong, 1-0, for the first time in eight matches.
But shortly after the Azkals won the match, Hong Kong supporters allegedly threw bottles at some of the Azkals players and called their fans “slaves” according to an Associated Press report. Some of the hometown fans also booed while the Philippine national anthem was being played.
The “slaves” racial slur was in reference to more than 100,000 Filipino migrants who work as domestic helpers in the former crown colony. Some of the Hong Kong nationals also still hold a grudge against the Philippines for the 2010 Manila hostage taking incident which killed eight Hong Kong tourists in a botched rescue attempt.
The Hong Kong Football Federation condemned the incident last week and vowed to have its own investigation.
The latest incident came on the heels of FIFA toughening its stand against racism. Last May, FIFA members unanimously voted for stronger sanctions against racisms.
In the approved two-stage anti-racism resolution, the first or minor offense should be punished by a warning, fine or with a match having to be played behind the closed doors. Serious or repeat offenses can now be punished by deduction of points, expulsion from a tournament or even relegation of the offending club.
FIFA also passed measures that sanctions players or officials found guilty of racist abuse in any game. Guilty parties will be suspended for five matches.