AFC punishes Guangzhou, Kawasaki over banners, fans

The AFC Disciplinary Committee on Wednesday sanctioned three clubs for a number of offences related to discrimination and spectator misconduct at recent AFC Champions League and AFC Cup matches.

Guangzhou Evergrande, Kawasaki Frontale and Nejmeh SC of Lebanon were punished for the offences after they were found to have broken several rules.

Guangzhou Evergrande were found to have violated Article 58 and Article 65 of the AFC Disciplinary and Ethics Code relating to the actions of away supporters at the AFC Champions League match versus Eastern in Hong Kong on April 25.

During the match, away supporters displayed a banner depicting a discriminatory message relating to national origin and political opinion.

The banner read “Annihilate British Dogs, Eradicate Hong Kong Independence Poison.”

Guangzhou Evergrande were ordered to play two future home matches in AFC club competitions behind closed doors, with both matches suspended for a probationary period of two years. They were also fined US$22,500.

Kawasaki Frontale were also found to have violated the same codes relating to the actions of an away supporter at the match with Suwon Bluewings on the same date after an away fan displayed the World War II-era rising sun flag.

Kawasaki Frontale were ordered to play one future home match behind closed doors, suspended for a probationary period of one year, and were fined US$15,000.

Nejmeh SC were found to have violated Article 58 (Discrimination), Article 65 (Liability for spectator conduct) and Article 64 (Organisation of matches) relating to the actions of supporters and security failures at their AFC Cup match against Jordan’s Al Wehdat on April 17.

Home fans chanted numerous discriminatory songs throughout the match relating to religious beliefs and political opinion. A banner depicting a religious message was also displayed.

Nejmeh SC were ordered to play two future home matches in AFC club competitions in an empty stadium, with one match suspended for a probationary period of two years. They were fined US$20,000.

The suspended sanctions will be automatically enforced should any offences be repeated, the committee said.

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