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Football: Security tight ahead of ASEAN tournament

Burmese football fans (PHOTO: DVB)

Security will be tight at Rangoon’s Thuwunna and Napyidaw’s Wunna Theikdi football stadiums later this month when Burma co-hosts the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Championship, following a series of unsavoury incidents involving hooliganism in recent years, says the Myanmar Football Federation (MFF).

According to MFF CEO Phone Naing Zaw, around 2,500 security personnel including police officers are to be deployed at Thuwunna stadium where the Burmese men’s national team kick off against Vietnam on 20 November.

Security concerns are high after Burmese fans displayed unruly conduct when they lost matches in recent years, including a pitch invasion and hurling objects from the stands onto the pitch. Burma has been penalised on numerous occasions by FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation for their supporters’ behaviour.

Phone Naing Zaw said the MFF did not want to see a repeat of aggressive behaviour such as ripping up seats and pitch invasions, throwing projectiles at opposing teams, rioting and attempting to set the stadium on fire, which happened after Burma was defeated in the 2013 SEA Games.

He said the MFF has been warned of severe punishments if any further disorder occurs at international matches in Burma.

Phone Naing Zaw said up to 50 CCTV cameras will be installed at the stadiums, and fans caught misbehaving will be immediately detained, removed from the venue, and banned from attending future matches.

The ASEAN Football Federation’s biennial Suzuki Cup 2016 will kick off on 19 November when co-hosts the Philippines play Singapore, and reigning champions Thailand take on Indonesia.