Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday criticized the Chinese Taipei Football Association (CTFA) for removing a banner reading “All hail Formosa” raised on Sunday by fans during a qualifying match with Turkmenistan.
DPP Legislator Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書) criticized the banner’s removal, saying the Sports Administration should do a better job of advising the CTFA, adding that fans should not be censored when they are cheering for their team.
Huang, at a joint news conference in Taipei with DPP Legislator Chang Liang Wan-chien (張廖萬堅), also said that two volleyball players were unable to participate in the Asian Youth Championship in Chongqing, China, earlier this month, because Taiwan’s Volleyball Association failed to inform the players about changes to the qualification rules that have been in place for two years.
The volleyball association was ordered to explain the incident within a week, Sports Administration international and cross-straits division director Hsu Hsiu-ling (許秀玲) said. Lin Yung-chen (林詠晨), head of the Ultras Formosa fan group whose banner was removed, said his group has been using the same banner for nearly 10 years and had not encountered any difficulties until last year.
Lin said the slogan is meant to cheer on Taiwanese teams, adding that Formosa is a historical Portuguese name for the nation. “The name has even been used officially for the Taiwanese team at the Olympics,” Lin said. “If Guam’s soccer team can use that island’s native language and name their team ‘Matao,’ is it not strange to forbid the name ‘Formosa’?” Lin said the CTFA failed to communicate their requirements before the match and refused to discuss the issue, adding that the association’s actions hurt the fans’ spirit.
Huang criticized the CTFA’s failure to “explain its actions from a strong stance,” adding that the administration should clarify what constitutes a “political slogan” and what is in line with Olympic conventions. It should also stand firm in the face of international requirements that are unreasonable, Huang added.
Hsu said that “Formosa” is deemed a political slogan by the Asian Football Confederation, adding that the nation was fined US$4,000 for displaying a banner containing the word during an East Asia Cup qualifier against East Timor in October last year. The administration has asked the CTFA to address the issue following Sunday’s incident, Hsu said, adding that Taiwan is not the only nation that has been fined by the confederation for similar breaches.
The lawmakers also talked about a fight that broke out at the International Ice Hockey Federation U18 World Championship in Taipei on Friday, after which two Chinese players were suspended for instigating the clash with Taiwanese players. Huang accused the Sports Administration of failing to act as an intermediary between sports associations and fans.