Chi­nese ref­eree ‘beaten’ as draw sparks match-fix claim

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

The Chi­nese FA launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a match where a fourth of­fi­cial was re­port­edly at­tacked fol­low­ing a con­tro­ver­sial draw that trig­gered claims of match-fix­ing.

Baod­ing Rongda were lead­ing 2-1 when the ref­eree awarded vis­i­tors Wuhan Zall a penalty dur­ing seven min­utes of stop­page time at the end of Satur­day’s fix­ture in China’s sec­ond divi­sion. The spot-kick was con­verted and the match ended 2-2.

An­gry fans pelted the match of­fi­cials with de­bris as they were es­corted by se­cu­rity per­son­nel from the pitch at the end, re­ported state-run news­pa­per the Bei­jing News. Baod­ing chair­man Meng Yongli burst into tears at a chaotic post­match press con­fer­ence, al­leg­ing his side had been cheated out of the win.

The Bei­jing News re­ported that fourth of­fi­cial Yang Kaizi was beaten up in his dress­ing room, but the news­pa­per did not say who was re­spon­si­ble for the at­tack. Meng gath­ered re­porters on the pitch to an­nounce he was pulling the team out of the league, be­fore quit­ting as chair­man hours later cit­ing “per­sonal rea­sons”.

Baod­ing, from near Bei­jing, sub­se­quently apol­o­gised and said the club had no in­ten­tion of leav­ing the com­pe­ti­tion. The Chi­nese Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (CFA) an­nounced an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the con­tro­versy.

“CFA is tak­ing this se­ri­ously and will treat ev­ery­one in­volved sternly based on facts and reg­u­la­tions,” it said in a state­ment. “We would like the club to ex­press its opin­ion in a calm man­ner. In the mean­time we call on the fans to re­main ra­tio­nal and re­strained.”

The state Peo­ple’s Daily news­pa­per yes­ter­day hit out at Meng and Baod­ing, ac­cus­ing them of dam­ag­ing the rep­u­ta­tion of Chi­nese foot­ball. “In the his­tory of foot­ball there hasn’t been any prece­dent where one could use beat­ing and scold­ing, as well as quit­ting the league, to get what one wanted,” it said in a strongly worded com­ment piece.

“For foot­ball, when the club boss is cry­ing and shout­ing to quit the league, when the per­pe­tra­tors are at­tack­ing ref­er­ees at the door, they have prob­a­bly for­got­ten about what they first re­ally wanted in their heart (which is to win the game).”

Chi­nese foot­ball has a his­tory of con­tro­versy in­volv­ing ref­er­ees and of­fi­cials and in 2009 launched a high-pro­file crack­down on cor­rup­tion dog­ging the sport, lead­ing to dozens of ar­rests and prison sen­tences — AFP

SHANG­HAI: : Baod­ing Rongda led 2-1 against Wuhan Zall at home be­fore the vis­i­tors were given a penalty that helped them to a 2-2 draw.

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