SYDNEY (Reuters) - Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande and Japanese club Kawasaki Frontale had punishments for the display of controversial banners by their fans upheld by the Asian Football Confederation Appeals Committee on Thursday.
Evergrande were fined $22,500 and handed a suspended two-match stadium ban after their fans unfurled banner reading “Annihilate British Dogs, Eradicate Hong Kong Independence Poison” during a match at Hong Kong’s Eastern.
Kawasaki Frontale were fined $15,000 and given a suspended one-match stadium ban for an offence during another Asian Champions League match on the same day, in their case against South Korea’s Suwon Bluewings at the Suwon World Cup Stadium.
Two of their fans displayed a flag flown by the Imperial Japanese Army until the end of World War Two, a particularly provocative gesture in Korea which suffered a sometimes brutal occupation by their neighbours from 1910 to 1945.
“In the appeals of Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN) and Kawasaki Frontale (JPN) regarding discriminatory banners displayed at AFC Champions League matches played on April 26, 2017, the Committee dismissed both appeals in full,” read an AFC statement.
Jeju United players Cho Yong-hyung and Baek Dong-gyu had punishments for their roles in violent scenes at the end of an Asian Champions League match against Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds in May reduced on appeal.
Cho, who had been sent off after being shown a second yellow card for a foul, had his ban reduced from six to three months with the remainder suspended for one year, while Baek’s three-month ban was reduced to two.
“We told the AFC that some Urawa players provoked our players first, and Cho’s tackle wasn’t intentional,” the club told Yonhap news agency.
“We accept the AFC decision and will try our best to prevent such incidents from happening again.”
Jeju were knocked out of the tournament by Urawa Reds, who face Kawasaki Frontale in the first leg of the quarter-finals next month.
Twice champions Evergrande play Shanghai SIPG in an all-Chinese affair in their last eight tie.
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Sudipto Ganguly