Burma smarting from 2018 World Cup ban

The world’s top footballing body has penalised Burma with a fine of nearly $US30,000 and banned it from entering the 2018 World Cup qualifiers following violent scenes that brought a qualifying match against Oman in July to an early close.

One coach and several players from the Oman team were injured by flying stones and water bottles during rioting at the match. Burmese fans had gone berserk in the Rangoon stadium after a hotly disputed penalty decision, and the match was ended midway through the second half.

Oman, who were leading 2-0 at the time, were awarded the match, and Burma disqualified.

Burma’s national footballing body will make an appeal to FIFA over the ban, but has accepted the fine.

Soe Moe, spokesperson of Myanmar Football Federation, said the decision was damaging for the reputation of Burma and its sporting ambitions.

“It’s bad that we are being punished, whether with a fine or ban, when we were just starting to gain our momentum,” he said.

“I think Burmese football fans may now realised a little bit that their behaviour has led to our country’s reputation being damaged. A mistake has already been made so instead of blaming, we should prevent mistakes like this from happening again.”

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