Rongda reverses de­ci­sion to quit

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By SUN XIAOCHEN sunx­i­aochen@chi­

An up­roar trig­gered by a team in China’s sec­ond-tier soc­cer league has taken a bizarre twist after the club re­versed its de­ci­sion to with­draw from the cir­cuit to protest of­fi­ci­at­ing.

Baod­ing Rongda FC, the bot­tom club in the 16-mem­ber Chi­nese League One, an­nounced in a state­ment re­leased on Mon­day that it will re­main in the league and will ac­cept any po­ten­tial pun­ish­ment from the Chi­nese Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion for de­cid­ing to quit after a 2-2 draw with Wuhan Zall on Satur­day.

Cit­ing a ref­eree’s call to award Zall a ty­ing penalty dur­ing seven min­utes of added time, Rongda chair­man Meng Yongli fired the ref­eree at the post-match me­dia con­fer­ence and hours later an­nounced the club was with­draw­ing from the league.

“We can’t af­ford to play in an en­vi­ron­ment like this. If it con­tin­ues, even­tu­ally no one will play,” said Meng, whose tear­ful out­burst brought the me­dia con­fer­ence to an abrupt fin­ish.

On Sun­day, the club an­nounced Meng was step­ping down from the chair, cit­ing per­sonal rea­sons.

Ac­cord­ing to mul­ti­ple re­ports, the chief ref­eree of the match, Huang Xiang, was phys­i­cally con­fronted by a group of out­raged fans in a rest room after the match.

The CFA has launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion and said it will se­verely pun­ish any­one found in­volved in match-fix­ing.

The CFA also said it has been col­lect­ing ev­i­dence about the al­leged as­sault on the ref­eree and will im­pose dis­ci­plinary penal­ties on any par­ties in­volved.

“The in­ci­dent es­ca­lated into a farce that was out of the club’s con­trol,” Rongda said in a state­ment re­leased on Mon­day.

“To avoid it get­ting worse, we have been co­op­er­at­ing with the CFA in­ves­ti­ga­tion and we are will­ing to take any con­se­quences.”

Yuan Ye, a soc­cer com­men­ta­tor with, said that even if Rongda has with­drawn its de­ci­sion, the in­ci­dent is still likely to bring pun­ish­ment to the club.

“Ac­cord­ing to CFA safety reg­u­la­tions, any in­ci­dents caus­ing as­sault to match of­fi­cials will in­cur penal­ties as se­ri­ous as dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion of the club’s home city to stage any games. Its fans will be­come vic­tims if it hap­pens,” said Yuan.


Meng Yongli, chair­man of Baod­ing Rongda FC, weeps after Satur­day’s Chi­nese League One match with Wuhan Zall. He re­signed from the post on Sun­day.

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