Football fans celebrating Lionel Messi in Bangladesh were handed hefty fines for violating coronavirus health guidelines. Photo: Albert Gea/Reuters
Football fans celebrating Lionel Messi in Bangladesh were handed hefty fines for violating coronavirus health guidelines. Photo: Albert Gea/Reuters

Football fans in Bangladesh fined for celebrating Messi's birthday

By dpa Time of article published Jun 25, 2020

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DHAKA – A group of football fans in Bangladesh is facing fines for violating coronavirus health guidelines while celebrating the birthday of Argentine star Leonel Messi, officials said on Thursday.

Magistrate Feroz Hossain said he ordered a fine of 100 takas ($1.17) each for the 15 people gathered at a restaurant in Chuadanga district, nearly 170 kilometres west of the capital, Dhaka.

"We found them sitting inside the restaurant, waiting for a birthday celebration of Messi," said Hossain, who was leading a team of soldiers tasked with ensuring that people follow health guidelines to stem the spread of the virus.

Messi turned 33 years on Wednesday.

The fans, most of whom were juveniles, were handed the penalty for not following physical distancing rules in a lockdown area, he said, adding that the restaurant owner was fined 6,000 takas (more than $70 ) for keeping it open after sunset.

After lifting the nationwide shutdown in May 30, Bangladesh has now been imposing localized lockdowns to slow the spread of the virus, which has infected 126,606 people, including 1,621 deaths, so far.

Football is a popular game in Bangladesh, despite the fact that the South Asian country has never qualified for a World Cup final round.

Star players, including Messi, have many fans in the country.

dpa

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