June 28 – FIFA have sanctioned the Macau Football Association for refusing to travel to Sri Lanka to play the second leg of their 2022 World Cup preliminary competition first-round match.
The fixture has been awarded to Sri Lanka with a 3-0 scoreline and Macau have been given an additional fine of CHF10,000 “for the breach of article 5 of the FIFA World Cup 2022 regulations (related to withdrawal, unplayed matches and abandoned matches) and article 56 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (related to unplayed matches and abandonment).”
Macua, a former Portuguese colony, won the first leg of the tie with a goal by defender Filipe Duarte. The match was played in Zhuhai in south China.
But it is Sri Lanka who go into the second round draw that will take place at AFC House in Kuala Lumpur on July 17.
Asian Football Confederation (AFC) preliminary World Cup qualification began early June with 12 teams involved in knockout games for places in the first round of group qualifying. The matches also count as the first rounds of Asian Cup 2023 qualifying.
Macau have refused to travel to Sri Lanka to complete their 2022 World Cup qualifier citing concerns over safety in the country.
The second leg was scheduled to be played Tuesday 11 June in Colombo but Macau only informed the AFC officially on Monday 10 June that the team had refused to travel. The AFC referred the matter “to FIFA and the appropriate AFC committees.”
More than 250 people, including 42 foreigners, were killed in a series of suicide bombings at hotels and churches in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday (April 21) which the Islamic State claimed responsibility for.
While security concerns were obvious, the last minute refusal to travel by Macau knowing the fixture was scheduled for months and more than seven months after the attack came as a surprise. The AFC may further rule on Macau.
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