Footballers on the two teams that protested a recent decision by the Macau Football Association say that their dramatic 21-18 final score on Sunday had nothing to do with their clubs.
Nevertheless, the Macau FA told international media that it was investigating the case, which may constitute improper conduct. Both clubs have launched their own internal investigations, pledging that if violations are proven the concerned players will be punished.
The 21-goal victory of Ka I over Hang Sai on Sunday was put to an end early by the referee after noticing that the two teams were deliberately conceding goals to one another. The match was filled with walking attackers, unspotted defenders, and missing goalkeepers.
The footballers involved in the apparent protest say that it was held solely by their own initiative, and did not reflect the position of their clubs.
They were protesting the decision made by the Macau FA not to send the Macau SAR team to Sri Lanka.
Citing security concerns in Sri Lanka, the Macau Football Association decided last week to withdraw the Macau SAR team from its scheduled second-leg match as part of the joint qualifier for the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup tournaments. In a rare victory, the Macau team beat Sri Lanka 1-0 at home in the first leg.
Footballers on both teams seemed to have made an agreement prior to kickoff not to stage a competitive match, reported local Chinese newspaper Exmoo.
Four minutes into the match, Lam Ka Chong of Hang Sai scored the first goal. In the first half, both teams scored 11 goals, with Ka I leading by six goals to five.
The Chinese newspaper reported that the referee had ended the match early, seeing the footballers not playing a competitive game.
According to football rules and regulations, football governing bodies such as the Macau FA and the Asian Football Federation can open an investigation into suspected match fixing and pre-full time match termination.
Hang Sai player Lam Ka Po clarified to the press after the match that it wasn’t the club’s decision to stage the uncooperative action. He said, “we hope the [Macau] FA can listen to the players.”
Lam added that discussion regarding actions in the next stage is in progress, but no decision has yet been made. He emphasized that the FA had not contacted any of the players. Staff reporter