Friday, February 09, 2007

Seven Team China stars sent home after UK brawl

Seven internationals with the Team China Olympic squad have been sent home early from the Chelsea training centre as the mass brawl with English Championship club Queens Park Rangers players dominated Chinese media on Friday. "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," commented Nick Mulvenney of Reuters.

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 clubs Sina.com reported. The Chinese Football Association told the internet news portal that the clubs had already requested the release of these players to help preparations for the new Chinese league season and the Asian Champions League.

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

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