Sayed Baqer made the gesture at a World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifier match against Hong Kong

SCMP reports that FIFA will discipline a Bahrain player who made a racist gestures towards Hong Kong fans.

Sayed Baqer made the gesture during Hong Kong’s Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifier against Bahrain on 14 November. The group C match ended as a 0-0 tie.

Footage of Baqer showed Baqer pulling his eyes back and directing the gesture towards Hong Kong supporters as he was leaving the pitch.

“Disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the player in relation to this matter,” a FIFA spokeswoman said yesterday.

The Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) responded by saying, “HKFA received the match commissioner report from the game and there was no mention of any incident. Therefore HKFA will report the matter.”

Before FIFA’s statement was release Hong Kong’s coach Mixu Paatelainen said, “I don’t want to discuss specific incidents, but all in all, we need to respect each other [and] the opponents. Yes, we try to get the better of them but we respect them and we should always behave accordingly, that’s for sure.”

“Nobody wants to see aggravation out there – sometimes that happens. I call it handbags, and the boys had their handbags out and had a couple of swings, that was it. The bottom line is that you always respect the opponent, respect the officials, respect the fans, and everybody involved,” he said.

Anti-discrimination watchdog Fare Network submitted a report of the incident to FIFA.  “The gesture made by Bahrain’s Sayed Baqer at Hong Kong fans is one of the most common forms of racism against East Asian people and it is largely under-reported and unacknowledged,” said Fare’s executive director Piara Powar.

“We are witnessing more incidents like this targeting Asian players and fans as football in the region is growing. Fare has submitted a report to Fifa about this incident. Players, if found guilty of racist behaviour, can face a minimum 10-game ban according to the Fifa Disciplinary Code.”