Myanmar Football Fans Riot After Indonesia Knocks Team Out Of SEA Games
Myanmar football fans started fires, tore out seats and hurled rocks after their team was eliminated from the Southeast Asian Games, "the latest stadium violence in a country once banned from 2018 World Cup qualifying because of unruly fans," according to REUTERS. Myanmar's 1-0 defeat to Indonesia late on Monday "angered spectators, who threw stones as disappointed players left the pitch in tears." Some spectators "invaded the pitch as others tore down banners and destroyed plastic seats." Fans outside "set ablaze billboards and SEA Games flags, hats and even their own T-shirts." Rioters threw stones at police, "who huddled behind shields and responded with water cannon" (REUTERS, 12/17). The AFP reported trouble "flared inside the Yangon stadium before full-time and then carried on after the game with furious fans setting alight police posts and billboards." Deputy Police Colonel Min Aung said, "We detained eight football fans last night, including two who invaded the pitch in second-half." Hooliganism at Myanmar's football matches "is common." In August, "fans destroyed the pitch at a new stadium in the capital Naypyidaw, where Indonesia will now travel to contest the semifinals." Blame "swiftly fell on Myanmar's Korean coach as the home side failed to progress despite sharing points with Indonesia and having a better goal difference." Park Seong-Hwa was dismissed after the match, with local reports saying that "he admitted he was unaware of competition rules stating that the head-to-head result -- and not goal difference -- would determine who progresses if teams were tied on points" (AFP, 12/17).