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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Chinese Response: Apology & Sending Players Home

AFP News brief
Cool it, China Olympic coach says after London brawl

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Chinese officials have apologised and told their players to cool it after a violent brawl in a match between their Olympic team and Queen's Park Rangers left a Chinese player hospitalised.

Police were called after the game at Rangers' training ground in London was abandoned by Premier League referee Dermot Gallacher following a mass brawl in which China's Zheng Tao was knocked unconscious.

He was taken by ambulance to hospital with a suspected broken jaw, the BBC reported. Chinese reports said captain Chen Tao also needed treatment at hospital.

"We will conduct our own internal investigation into this matter," QPR chairman Gianni Paladini was quoted as saying Thursday.

"If any of our players are guilty of any wrongdoing then they will be dealt with accordingly."

QPR, in the English second division, was leading 2-1 at the time in a match that was part of China's ongoing tour of England, where they are based at Chelsea's training ground.

A tough tackle on Gao Lin sparked the incident, with Gao lashing out.

"You (China team) are all football players, not boxers. We all know the opponents' ferocious playing style, that is English football but that is no excuse for violence," coach Ratomir Dujkovic said.

"I never expected to see this kind of thing. We came here to train, not to fight. I am very disappointed, very."

Eight players including Goa, who apologised for the fracas, will be sent home from London early as punishment, China's Sina.com website reported.

"Because of me an incident occurred during the match with Queen's Park Rangers which severely damaged the reputation of the Chinese Olympic team. I sincerely apologise to everybody concerned," he said in a statement.

Assistant coach Jia Xiuquan also apologised for the Chinese team.

"There was a brawl in the match against Queen's Park Rangers. As the representative of the Chinese coaches I apologise for it," he told Sina.com.

"In the future we will put more effort in to strengthening the management of the players and will definitely avoid similar things happening again. Again, I apologise to the domestic fans who love and support the team." China

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