The World Cup qualifier football match between Hong Kong and Maldives will be held in Male, capital of Maldives on November 12, FIFA has informed the Football Association of Maldives.

It comes despite a state of emergency being declared in the country ahead of a planned anti-government rally on Saturday.

On Thursday, the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) proposed that the match be moved to the Mong Kok Stadium.

The Hong Kong team was scheduled to travel to the Maldives on November 9 to prepare for the qualifying match to be held at the National Stadium in its capital Male.

The letter from FIFA to HKFA confirming the decision.
The letter from FIFA to HKFA confirming the decision.

Hong Kong national team footballer Chan Siu-ki said on his Facebook page that he was surprised by the decision: “Maldives is so dangerous now, we still have to play there?”

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen declared a 30-day state of emergency on Wednesday giving the security forces sweeping powers to arrest suspects with their basic rights suspended.

The Hong Kong government then issued an amber travel warning for the country, advising those who plan to visit the island nation to monitor the situation, exercise caution and avoid travelling to places where the protests are, particularly the capital.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.