Hong Kong delays football fixtures during unrest

Anti-government protesters hold umbrellas as they march during a demonstration on the New Year’s Day to call for better governance and democratic reforms in Hong Kong, China January 1, 2020. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

HONG KONG (Reuters) - The Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) has postponed a pair of long-running inter-territorial ties in the latest sports events disrupted while the city reels from anti-China protests.

The decision affects the two-legged Guangdong-Hong Kong Cup and Hong Kong-Macau Interport fixtures, both due to be played in January, the association said on its website.

A decision has yet to be made on the annual Lunar New Year Cup, which is played in Hong Kong over the Chinese New Year.

Unrest in Hong Kong since mid-2019 over Beijing’s control of the former British colony has already forced the cancellation or postponement of international tennis, squash and golf events.

Football matches in Hong Kong have become a focal point for anti-China sentiment in recent years, with the HKFA fined regularly by global governing body FIFA due to fans booing the Chinese national anthem prior to World Cup qualifiers.

Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne