【蘇嘉豪致函國際足協籲重新安排澳門賽事】

——Sulu Sou writes to FIFA calling for reschedule of Macau match.

Subject: Request to reschedule the World Cup Asian Regional Qualification of Sri Lanka and Macau

President of the International Football Association Gianni Infantino,

Please pardon me for this abrupt letter.

I am a deputy of the Legislative Assembly from the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China . On June 8, 2019, the Macau Football Association (MFA) prohibited the Macau football national team (Macau Team) from travelling to Sri Lanka to participate in the qualification match for “safety” reasons. The Macau Team was forced to withdraw from the second round of the first phase of the 2022 Qatar World Cup Asian Regional Qualification, which has given rise to some major controversies in Macao. Many players, coaches, football fans and citizens are very dissatisfied with the decision of the MFA. They believe that it is a disrespect for the Macau Team and obliterates the hard works and dreams of the players.

In this regard, some football fans and I launched the “One Person, One Letter” campaign on the same day , calling on the Macao citizens to write to the International Football Association (FIFA), the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL), requesting active consideration of searching for a neutral venue and postponement of the date of the match. Around 1,800 people in total participated (I believe the FIFA and the AFC have already received their strong will). At the same time, 48 players from different age groups of the Macau Team jointly requested the MFA to withdraw the decision, otherwise they will no longer represent Macao to play in the future matches . At that night, the FFSL stated that it would send military and police to provide 24-hour high-standard security protection for the Macau Team. The measures were recognized by the FIFA and the AFC .

Regrettably, the MFA held a press conference on June 9 and insisted that the Macau Team would not be allowed to travel. The reason provided was that, information obtained from “some friends” showed that there was no 100% security guarantee in Sri Lanka, and the Macao Government was also issuing a warning of “non-required trip should be cancelled” to Sri Lanka. On the same day, the players of the Macau Team also held a press conference, criticizing the MFA for not respecting the wills of the majority of the players, and jointly signed the Declaration of “Risk-bearing Undertakings”, stating that all accidents occurred in Sri Lanka would be at their own risk.

On June 10, the MFA met with some of the players, saying that “some friends” had told them that once they entered Sri Lanka, they might encounter a terrorist attack. The MFA reiterated the decision to prohibit to play in the match. On the same day, the FFSL announced the official cancellation of the match because the Macau Team refused to travel to the place where the match would be held. The FFSL also expressed its regrets. This decision was also confirmed by the FIFA. On June 12, Nicholas Torrão, captain of the Macau Team, did not give up and sent a letter to the FIFA and the AFC, respectively , expressing the willingness of the Macau Team to participate in the match, and urged the addressed organizations to reschedule the match. He also mentioned in the letter the following phrase: “Football is far too big and too beautiful to be played in the office. The field is where is should be played between the most valuable assets that it has, the players.”

On June 16, in a match hosted by the MFA, the two Macau football clubs played in a very negative attitude. The result was 21 to 18, which was a protest against the decision of the MFA. The incident even led to a detailed report covered by the BBC Sports .

On June 18, the AFC announced the list of teams in the second round of the World Cup Asian Qualification. The match between Macau and Sri Lanka was unresolved. According to the AFC, the final decision on the match between Sri Lanka and Macau is still to be announced, which implies that any decision is subject to change until the draw to be held on July 18.

In view of the above, the incident has surpassed pure sports events and has become a public concern of the community. As a deputy of the local Legislative Assembly, I have the responsibility to try my best to assist in solving the problems that concern the public, and seek due rights.

I would like to emphasize that, though Macao may be regarded as a region where football match is not so popular, but there are many people who are highly fond of both playing and watching football games (including me). Players who are selected for the Macau Team must also make a very painful choice between football and work (or studies, or family), or all at the same time.

As everyone knows, the World Cup is the highest honor in the football sector. Everyone who loves football in Macau is eager to participate, and also hopes to strive for good results. Today, due to the MFA’s misjudgment, or more precisely, due to some administrative issues or personal decisions unrelated to sports, the players of Macau Team lose an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and some players may never have such an opportunity again in their whole life.

“We can’t tell who is the winner or loser until the last minute.” This is the profound wisdom that we learn from football games. Therefore, by this letter, I would like to sincerely appeal to the FIFA and the AFC to make every effort to discuss with the FFSL and the MFA to reschedule the match. We hope that the match will be handled in a satisfactory manner, so that both sides can compete against each other in accordance with the sacred spirit of “Fair Play”, which is also a great football dream for the Macau young people!

I look forward to your reply.

Best regards,

Sulu, Sou Ka Hou
Deputy of the Legislative Assembly of the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
20 June 2019

c.c.: President of the Asian Football Confederation Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, President of the Football Federation of Sri Lanka Anura de Silva, President of the Macau Football Association Chong Coc Veng

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事由:請求重新安排斯里蘭卡與澳門的世界盃亞洲區外圍賽賽事

國際足球協會 Gianni Infantino會長 閣下您好:

抱歉,請容許我冒昧來函。

我是來自中華人民共和國澳門特別行政區的立法會議員 。2019年6月8日,澳門足球總會以「安全」理由禁止澳門足球代表隊前往斯里蘭卡作賽,代表隊被迫放棄2022年卡塔爾世界盃亞洲區外圍賽第一圈第二回合賽事,事件在澳門引發了重大爭議,不少球員、教練員、球迷和市民都非常不滿澳門足總的決定,認為是對澳門隊的不尊重,及抹煞了球員的努力和夢想。

就此,本人和一些球迷同日發起了「一人一信」行動 ,呼籲澳門市民致函國際足協、亞洲足協、斯里蘭卡足協,請求積極考慮尋找中立場地,及延後比賽日期,總共有約1,800人參與(相信國際足協和亞洲足協已經收到他們的強烈意願)。同時,來自不同年齡梯次澳門隊的48名球員聯署要求澳門足總收回決定,否則將不再代表澳門比賽 。當晚,斯里蘭卡足協澄清將派出軍隊和警察,為澳門隊提供24小時的高規格安全保護,有關措施得到國際足協和亞洲足協認可 。

可惜的是,澳門足總於6月9日召開記者會堅持禁止澳門隊出發,原因是從「一些朋友」的資訊得知於斯里蘭卡無法得到百分百的安全保證,而且澳門政府也正向斯里蘭卡發出「應取消非必要行程」的警示。同日,澳門隊的球員也召開記者會,批評澳門足總沒有尊重絕大多數球員的意願,並聯合簽署「生死狀」,聲明由自己負責於斯里蘭卡發生一切事故的責任。

6月10日,澳門足總與部分球員會面,其中表示「有朋友」告知如他們一踏足斯里蘭卡,即可能遇上恐怖襲擊,重申禁止出賽的決定。同日,斯里蘭卡足協宣布正式取消賽事 ,原因是澳門隊拒絕前往當地作賽,對此感到遺憾,這個決定也獲得國際足協確認。6月12日,澳門隊艾美達隊長(Nicholas Torrão)並無放棄,他分別致函國際足協和亞洲足協 ,表達澳門隊渴望參賽的意願,懇請重新安排有關賽事,他在信件也提到「偉大且美麗的足球不應在辦公室舉行,球員才是球場上最彌足珍貴的元素」。

6月16日,在一場由澳門足總主辦的賽事,兩支澳門球會以非常消極的態度作賽,結果是21比18,以抗議澳門足總的決定,事件甚至引發英國廣播電視體育版(BBC Sports)的詳盡報道 。

6月18日,亞洲足協公布世界盃亞洲區第二圈外圍賽的球隊名單,其中澳門和斯里蘭卡競爭的席位懸而未決,據亞洲足協表示,有關斯里蘭卡與澳門對賽的最終決定仍待公布,意味著一切決定依然可以改變,直至7月18日的抽籤儀式為止。

綜合上述,由於事件已經超越純粹的體育事件,並成為了社會關注的公共事務,作為這個地區的立法會議員,我有責任盡力協助市民解決問題,及爭取應有的權益。

我希望強烈表達的是,澳門或許被視為足球運動低度發展的地區,但在這裡有很多人熱愛足球運動(包括我),無論是踢足球抑或看足球,而入選澳門隊的球員也必須在足球與工作(或學業、家庭)之間作出非常痛苦的取捨,或艱難地同時兼顧。

眾所周知,世界盃是足球界的最高榮譽,澳門每個熱愛足球的人都渴望參與,更希望努力爭取好的成績,如今因為澳門足總的錯誤判斷,或者準確來說,是一些與體育無關的行政問題和人為決定,而令這些球員喪失了千載難逢的機會,部分球員甚至在這輩子再也不會有這樣的機會。

「未到最後一分一秒,也不會知道誰勝誰負。」這是我們從足球運動學會的深刻道理。因此,我藉這封信函衷心呼籲國際足協和亞洲足協用盡一切努力,與斯里蘭卡足協和澳門足總商討重新安排賽事,期望能夠完滿地處理事件,讓雙方可以在符合「公平競技」的崇高精神下分出勝負,更是為了還澳門孩子一個偉大的足球夢!

耑此奉達,敬候賜覆。敬頌

台安

本信函也將抄送:亞洲足球協會Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa主席、斯里蘭卡足球協會Anura de Silva主席、澳門足球總會鍾國榮主席

澳門特別行政區立法會議員 蘇嘉豪
2019年6月20日