By Peter Aung
The world footballing body FIFA has ruled Oman winners of last week’s World Cup qualifying match in Rangoon, which was cancelled midway through the second half after Burmese fans pelted players with missiles.
FIFA is also preparing to penalise Burma for the fiasco, but details on precisely what measures it will take have not been released. The Myanmar Football Federation (MMF) is also yet to receive any official announcement from FIFA.
Oman will now progress into the next round, having led the game by two goals to nil at the time it was called off.
One coach and several players from the Oman team were injured by flying stones and water bottle during the rioting.
“[Projectiles] started landing near to where the Oman coaches were sitting so they panicked and ran onto the field – everything went from bad to worse,” a member of the crowd at the Thuwanna stadium told DVB on Thursday last week.
Soe Moe, information coordinator at the MMF, which is headed by business tycoon Zaw Zaw, said that “the dignity of Burma” was damaged by the fans’ behaviour.
“This is good for no one,” he said. “Now we have no more chances left as the game was forced to stop. It will only be damaging to us if we are to be banned [from holding international matches] for four, five or six years,” said Soe Moe.
“We will never get to see those top class teams playing in Burma. According to [FIFA] law, there is $US5000 fine for every object that lands on the field. Given that there were hundreds of thousands of objects landing in the field the other day, the MMF chairman will likely come home in a loincloth [Burmese expression for empty-handed].”