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Rediff.com  » Sports » Seven China players sent home amid brawl media storm

Seven China players sent home amid brawl media storm

February 09, 2007 10:41 IST
Seven China under-21 internationals have been sent home early from the Chelsea training centre as the mass brawl with Queens Park Rangers players dominated Chinese media on Friday.

Defender Zheng Tao ended up in hospital with a fractured jaw after Wednesday's melee, which caused the friendly between China's Olympic team for next year's Beijing Games and English second division club to be abandoned.

Despite apologies from the visiting party on Thursday, the majority view in the Chinese media was that both parties were to blame for the fight.

"Equal brutality," read the banner headline in the People's Daily, Beijing News had "Olympic team purging, Gao expelled", while the Beijing Times put the blame on the CFA with their "The father should be blamed for the son's fault".

Beijing Youth Daily's "Fight in Europe" is a play on words in Chinese.

Shanghai Shenhua striker Gao Lin, whose attack on an opponent at the west London club's training ground sparked off the trouble, will be joined on the plane by six other players from Shenhua, Dalian Shide and Shandong Luneng, Sina.com reported.

The Chinese Football Association (CFA) told the news portal that the clubs had already requested the release of these players to help preparations for the new Chinese season and the Asian Champions League.

In China, the CFA have remained silent on the matter and their official Web site carried only a report on the senior team's 2-1 victory over Kazakhstan, which also took place on Wednesday.

Sports ministry paper China Sports Daily called for perspective in an editorial entitled "It's only a game".

"Now it's happened, we should forget about it. It was not a war, and need not be regarded as seriously as a diplomatic issue. Soccer will continue, friendlies, will continue ... How to prevent this is something that really needs to be worked on."

Some fans used the incident to pile more abuse on the Chinese national team, who are often pilloried by fans at stadiums and on the Internet.

"What makes me really angry is they are not even able to win a fight never mind the game ... Gao Lin should have be smarter, why didn't he secretly niggle his opponent or fall to the ground and roll around like Cristiano Ronaldo?" Li Chengpeng posted on Sina.com.

Nick Mulvenney
Source:
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