Indonesian fans hurl racist abuse at Azkals

Posted at 06/06/2012 4:55 AM | Updated as of 06/06/2012 9:25 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Several Indonesian football fans who watched the friendly on Tuesday night between the Philippine Azkals and Timnas Indonesia are accused of racially abusing the Philippines' mixed-heritage players.

"Hindi kayo Pilipino! (You are not Filipinos!)" the Indonesian fans yelled in unison at some members of the Azkals while the match was ongoing, according to witnesses who watched the game live at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Craig Burrows, an Englishman based in Manila who manages the Philippines'  Street Child World Cup team, told ABS-CBNnews.com that he was standing next to the Indonesian fans when he heard the abusive chant.

He said Filipino football fans who were with him also heard it.

"Sadly, let us not stoop to that," he said.

Araceli Socorro, an Azkals fan, said she heard the offensive chant in the first half.

"How did the Pinoys respond to the racist chants? Showed them a banner that went 'NO TO RACISM' and then clapped for the Indonesian team," she said on Twitter.

Some Indonesians also boasted about the racist abuse on the social networking site after the match.

"Azkals' supporters became emotional because we chanted 'They are half Filipinos!" said @zoolsitorus.

"The craziest chant ever (when I watched soccer), 'Hindi kayo Pilipino' hahaha,"  said Jesse Eman (@JEtalk) , translating his tweet into English.

Eman, in a tweet to ABS-CBNnews.com on Wednesday morning, apologized for the offensive chant. 

@Zoolsitorus also apologized for the chant.

"I wanna apologize for what happened. It was just an emotional moment, we promise we won't do it again," he said.

 Several Philippine Azkals players have mixed heritage, having both Filipinos and foreigners as parents. They also learned the sport overseas and play professionally for some top football teams in Europe.

Under FIFA eligibility rules, a football player with mixed heritage is allowed to represent a national team in international competitions if he or she can prove ancestral links to the country of his or her choice.

Article 17 of the current FIFA Statute states that a player is eligible to play for a country if he fulfills one of the following conditions: "He was born on the territory of the relevant Association; (b) His biological mother or biological father was born on the territory of the relevant Association; (c) His grandmother or grandfather was born on the territory of the relevant Association; (d) He has lived continuously for at least five years after reaching the age of 18 on the territory of the relevant Association."

The Philippine Football Federation has yet to issue a statement on the issue, particularly if it will file a complaint before world football body FIFA and the Indonesian football association, which has been beset by bribery allegations, funding woes, power grabs and infighting, league splits and factionalism, as well as violent fights between fanatical supporters of local clubs.