Complaints over HK ‘racism’
The Philippine Football Federation has asked FIFA to investigate allegations that Filipino supporters and players were subject to racist abuse during last week’s friendly in Hong Kong, officials said yesterday. The complaint was filed on Tuesday after reports of “physical and racist abuse against Philippine players and supporters,” the federation’s general secretary Ed Gastanes said in a statement. The complaint contains statements from Filipino fans who said they were called “slaves,” and that Hong Kong fans threw bottles at them and booed the Philippine national anthem.
Queiroz pans S Korea coach
South Korea coach Choi Kang-hee humiliated the Iranian people when he said he had been “badly treated” in Tehran last year and wanted to stop the West Asians qualifying for the World Cup, Iran coach Carlos Queiroz said yesterday. The top two sides in Group A of World Cup qualifying in Asia clash in Ulsan, South Korea, on Tuesday next week. Choi said there was little danger of his side easing off against Iran and said he would prefer it if Uzbekistan joined them in qualifying, after suffering poor hospitality and bad manners during their 1-0 defeat in Tehran in October. Queiroz denied the claims after landing in Korea for the crunch clash, where he hopes to secure a fourth World Cup finals appearance for Team Melli. “Choi should apologize to the Iranian people,” he said. “He said the Korean team was badly treated in Iran, but we gave the best treatment available. He humiliated the Iranian citizens.”
Fans get ‘lion-hunting’ hats
Wallabies fans will be urged to don gold “lion-hunting” safari hats to combat the “sea of red” that British and Irish Lions supporters will bring to this month’s Test series, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) said yesterday. The ARU said it has produced more than 50,000 “lion-hunting pith helmets” to ensure the Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney Test venues have a golden backdrop for the much-anticipated showdown. The safari hats will be distributed free to Australia fans as they enter the stadiums in Brisbane on June 22, Melbourne on June 29 and Sydney on July 6. ARU chief executive Bill Pulver said they would be a “call to arms” for Australia supporters. “We always urge Wallabies fans to ‘Be Bold, Wear Gold,’ but that catch cry has never been more important than it is now,” he said. “This has been a tour 12 years in the making. It is an incredibly important moment in our rugby history.” Pulver said Australia was caught unawares by the large numbers of Lions fans on the last tour in 2001. The ARU expects aggregated crowd numbers to approach 400,000 — an increase of more than 30 percent on 2001, when 300,100 fans attended 10 matches.
Ranger’s future in limbo
New Zealand center Rene Ranger may be forced to honor a contract with French club Montpellier at the expense of his All Blacks career. Ranger made his fourth Test appearance for New Zealand — his first in three years — as a replacement in last weekend’s first Test against France at Eden Park. Prior to his recall, Ranger — assuming his Test career was over — signed a three-year contract with French club Montpellier thought to be worth more than US$1 million. Now he is trying to rescind that contract, but Montpellier are reportedly demanding a large payment to cancel the deal.