2 Min Read
REUTERS - China's Guangzhou Evergrande have been fined and handed a suspended two-match stadium ban after their fans unfurled a politically sensitive banner during an Asian Champions League match at Hong Kong's Eastern last month.
The banner, which read "Annihilate British Dogs, Eradicate Hong Kong Independence Poison", was displayed late in Guangzhou's 6-0 win over the Hong Kong champions on April 25.
Guangzhou, two-time winners of the continental competition, were found guilty of two offences; the first under an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) disciplinary and ethics code with the second related to spectator misconduct.
"Guangzhou Evergrande were ordered to play two future matches in AFC club competitions which they host in China PR without spectators, with both matches suspended for a probationary period of two years," the AFC said in a statement on Thursday.
"They were also fined $22,500."
Meanwhile, Japan's Kawasaki Frontale were also fined $15,000 and given a suspended one-match stadium ban after fans of the club displayed a wartime flag at their meeting with South Korea's Suwon Bluewings at the Suwon World Cup Stadium.
Officials travelling with the club reportedly confiscated the flag, used by the Imperial Japanese Army until the end of World War Two, from two men, while other supporters were escorted from the stadium.
The AFC also sanctioned Lebanon's Nejmeh SC with a two-match stadium ban, with one of them suspended for a period of two years, for spectator misconduct during their meeting with Jordan's Al Wehdat in the AFC Cup.
They were also ordered to pay a fine of $20,000.
Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by John O'Brien