AFC Cup match abandoned after visiting team reduced to six players

Indonesian side Persibo are likely to face disciplinary actions after players feigned injuries to trigger an abandoment
By Khalis Rifhan

Indonesia Premier League club Persibo Bojonegoro had inevitably brought unwanted attention to the club after match officials were forced to abandon their AFC Cup match against Sun Hei Sports Club of Hong Kong on Tuesday as the visitors had only six players left on the pitch.

The Angling Darma Army, who had arrived only on match-day thus missing out on the team manager’s meeting and the pre-match conference, had brought along just 12 players, most of whom were amateurs, for the match due to a financial crisis that has plagued the club this season. 

Sun Hei were leading by eight goals, seven of those coming in the first half, when referee Chaiya Mahapab of Thailand decided to call it off in the 65th minute of the match. By then, the visiting players had one by one allegedly feigned injury and had themselves taken off from the field, reducing the side to just six players.

This is not the first high scoring game involving Persibo as they were inflicted a 7-0 loss by Maldives club New Radiant on March 12. 

Following their match in Hong Kong, coach Gusnul Yakin said: “I want to apologies for this. We have tried our best but the players played badly and some are injured.”

“We only arrived in Hong Kong in the morning (match-day) with only 12 players. We hope to continue in this competition but we are not getting the financial support needed. We will try our best to participate in the remaining matches in AFC Cup.” 

In the AFC official website, it had stated, in accordance with competition regulations: “The AFC Competitions Committee (and if required the AFC Disciplinary Committee) shall decide on the consequences.”

Persibo had tried to pull out from the competition at the start of the season citing financial difficulties but were unable to after being threatened with financial sanctions by the AFC, which if enacted, would have crippled the club further.

The AFC will review all the incidents pertaining to the match and a decision will be announced in due course.