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Thursday, February 08, 2007

QPR Vs China "Brawl" Aftermath - Day III: QPR Receive World Coverage

Finally, much of the world gets to hear the name, QPR! Like no other story in involving QPR in the global era of the world wide web, the name of the club has made newspapers across the globe. Type the word "China" into "google news" and numerous stories about the QPR vs Team game can be found on the first page

The Times February 09, 2007 - Chinese in sorry state as police and FA investigate ‘Battle of Harlington’Tom Dart and Kaveh Solhekol

Queens Park Rangers hope that a supportive report from the referee in charge of the abandoned match against the China Olympic team on Wednesday will allow them to avoid serious censure when the FA completes its investigation into the 30-man brawl that resulted in a Chinese player being knocked unconscious and taken to hospital with a broken jaw.

According to a QPR source, Dermot Gallagher, the Premiership official in charge of the unofficial “friendly”, told the club that they were not responsible for the fight. “The ref said we weren’t to blame for anything,” the source said. “As I understand it, our players were only protecting themselves.”

As well as FA censure, police action remains a possibility. Officers from Hillingdon station were called to the training ground and are investigating the incident. The FA will use video evidence as well as Gallagher’s report.

The China squad, comprised of under-23 players, arrived last week for a two-week stay as guests of Chelsea, who are keen to extend their influence into the lucrative Far East market. However, the move has become a public-relations disaster for all involved and the trip may be cut short. China’s match against Brentford on Tuesday has been cancelled.

Li Xiaoguang, the China Olympic team manager, accepted responsibility for the brawl. “Although the participants in this incident were the players, I will take all the blame,” he said. “As the team manager, I would like on behalf of the team to make an official apology to all fans supporting our team.”

Gianni Paladini, the QPR chairman, hinted that he could sack some of his players. “When we find out what went wrong we will act accordingly. I will come down very strong,” he said. “If people cannot control themselves they should not be there, in that position, because sooner or later something like that is going to happen again. Therefore, it depends how much provocation was in it.”

Footage of the “Battle of Harlington” circulated on the internet yesterday, showing a serious mass confrontation with comic undertones as several of the China team attempted sub-Bruce Lee manoeuvres in front of fewer than 150 people at a chilly training ground near Heathrow. After 75 minutes, with QPR leading 2-1 and the ball nowhere near, Gao Lin lashed out at Pat Kanyuka, of QPR, sparking a confrontation involving at least 30 players and substitutes.

Richard Hill, the QPR assistant manager, raced into the thick of it and a photograph appeared to show him throwing a punch. A source claimed that Hill was trying to act as a peacemaker.

Gao was lifted off his feet by Kanyuka as the China player rained down blows. Both fell to the ground, then others waded in. Scuffles continued with fists and feet flying. One witness claimed that a little way off from the main mêlée, another QPR player attempted to throw a punch at a Chinese coach or official.

When calm was finally restored, one of the Chinese was face down on the turf. “Players stood around in groups and then started to drift back to the changing-rooms,” the witness said. “The Chinese were talking excitedly, and there were plenty of hard stares from them at Rangers players, most of whom were shaking their heads in disbelief.”

Police and an ambulance were called. Zheng Tao was unconscious for five minutes and taken to hospital with a fractured jaw. Chen Tao, the China captain, also reportedly needed hospital treatment.

“I was surrounded by about five players,” Zheng, a 22-year-old left back, said. “One of them knocked me down from behind and they began to kick me. I was kicked right on the jaw. Our team doctor told me I lost consciousness for five minutes and now I have to rest for at least three months. That is a catastrophic blow to me.

Gao said: “I failed to control myself in the match When facing the provocation I failed to obey the three rules of submitting to the referee, respecting opponents and not striking back, which caused the incident . . . I sincerely apologise to the fans.” The Times

DAILY MAIL Brawlers face sack, promises QPR chief
By SIMON CASS - More by this author » Last updated at 00:17am on 9th February 2007

Queens Park Rangers chairman Gianni Paladini has promised to sack any player implicated in the mass brawl with the China Olympic football team which left one Chinese player with his jaw broken in three places.

Paladini intends to conduct his own inquiry into the events in a friendly at QPR’s training ground. Players and coaching staff from both sides were fighting, forcing referee Dermot Gallagher to abandon the match in the second half.

China Under 21 defender Zheng Tao faces a three-month lay-off, after eye witnesses claimed he was kicked in the head by an unnamed QPR player while on the ground. He was unconscious for five minutes.

Video footage shows Chinese striker Gao Lin lashing out at Rangers reserve defender Pat Kanyuka. He is then seen to hurl Lin to the turf before players from both sides pile in, sparking an ugly scrap involving kung fu kicks and punches.

Away from the main fracas, sporadic fighting is seen breaking out all over the pitch and one photograph clearly shows QPR coach Richard Hill aiming a right hook at the face of Chinese player Jiang Ning.

One Chinese onlooker said: "The problems began when Lin and Kanyuka started kicking each other and saying bad words to each other. Then a player kicked Zheng Tao. He was on the ground when he was kicked in the face.

"Before the incident it was a nasty match with a lot of tackles and force. The QPR players were really offensive. The anger built up and then the Chinese players lost their tempers. The Chinese players are not used to English football and they are not as strong."

However a QPR insider claimed they were simply acting in self defence. "The ref said we weren’t to blame for anything," said the source. "As I understand it, our players were only protecting themselves."

The FA confirmed they have launched an investigation into Wednesday’s events, with a charge of failing to control their players the likely outcome.

But Paladini intends to go further. He said: "If somebody is found guilty of misconduct or hitting somebody, we have to do whatever it takes. I am against violence.

"I don’t want anything like that to happen again. At the end of the day it is a sport, it is a football match. We don’t want to have these kinds of problems just because somebody tackles you. There would be fighting every time.

"If the case is agreed and the police recommend that somebody has done something unlawful then yes, we have to sack them. Whoever, even if they are worth £10million. Fortunately, none of them were involved."

The Chinese team had been invited by Chelsea to London for a two-week training camp at their Cobham headquarters in a bid to raise the Premiership side’s profile in the far east. But the trip has descended into a full-scale PR disaster for Chelsea.

Chinese players criticised the champions’ training facilities and 48 hours before the game against QPR, there was more bad blood in a match against a Chelsea XI.

England Under 18 right back Sam Hutchinson hobbled off following a knee-high challenge in the third minute of the game held at Brentford’s Griffin Park. The two sides clashed again following nasty challenges on 16-year-old Chelsea prospect Michael Woods and team-mate Lee Sawyer.

A third game planned against Brentford next Tuesday was scrapped yesterday afternoon, while seven of the China camp also flew home.

QPR are already fighting a charge of failing to control their players, stemming from an FA Cup thirdround replay at Luton on January 23. They have requested a hearing but the fact that a second charge is in the offing does not bode well for their prospects of avoiding a heavy fine...

GUARDIAN - FA to investigate brawl with Chinese Olympic squad - David Ornstein
Video evidence of the brawl between China's Olympic team and Queens Park Rangers will be analysed by the Football Association and Hillingdon police after Zheng Tao, main picture left, was knocked unconscious and treated in hospital for a broken jaw.

Tao, who was punched and kicked by Rangers players during an abandoned "friendly" at QPR's Harlington training ground, has been transferred from Hillingdon hospital to Northwick Park, where he has been assessed for a double fracture and missing tooth. Soho Square is seeking feedback from the referee, Dermot Gallagher, before presiding over retrospective disciplinary action.

Team China, only seven days into a two-week visit to England before next year's Olympics in Beijing, were playing a Rangers XI containing several first-team regulars when the violence flared. It is alleged that China's Gao Lin aimed a punch at the QPR defender Patrick Kanyuka and a melee involving about 30 players and officials ensued. One member of the China team, pictured middle left, launched a kung fu-style kick at an opponent.

Both Hillingdon police and the London Ambulance service were called to the scene on Tuesday. China's Olympic team manager, Li Xiaoguang, insisted a "serious" inquiry would now be conducted into the incident.

QPR have launched an internal investigation. Their chairman, Gianni Paladini, suggested that any of his players found to be at fault would be sacked. "If anyone is found guilty then there is no way we can be associated with anything like that," he said. Guardian

Police investigate after mass brawl ends China friendly
By Gordon Tynan
Published: 09 February 2007
The Football Association and the police have started investigations after a friendly between Queen's Park Rangers and the Chinese Under-23 team was abandoned following a brawl on Wednesday.

The China player Zheng Tao was knocked unconscious and taken to Hillingdon hospital in west London with a suspected broken jaw after the fighting had caused the referee ,Dermot Gallagher, to stop the match with QPR winning 2-1 in the second half. The fight was reportedly sparked when Gao Lin hit a QPR player.

"I've never seen anything like it in my life," a witness told the website of the Ealing Gazette newspaper. "There were punches, kung fu kicks and all sorts. It was absolute mayhem."

Police were called to the incident and did not make any arrests, but an FA spokesman said: "We are investigating and we will be seeking information from Dermot Gallagher."

The unusual circumstances of the game - it was not an official match and took place at QPR's training ground in Harlington, west London - means it could be difficult for the FA to act. Although Gallagher took charge of the game, he was not appointed by the FA as the match was not a competitive one.

A statement yesterday on QPR's website read: "QPR can confirm that an incident occurred at our Harlington training ground yesterday, during the game against China's Under-23 squad. The club abhor violence of any sort and do not condone the actions taken by anyone involved. QPR will make no further statement while an internal investigation is conducted."

The China coach, Ratomir Dujkovic, was quoted on Sky Sports News as saying: "I did not see how everything began. I was watching the ball, then I saw they were fighting. It is very bad, and not acceptable, of course. Whether the local guys [QPR] or our guys began it is not important. It is unacceptable."

The QPR chairman, Gianni Paladini, said yesterday that he would "work 24 hours a day" to find the cause of the brawl. He said: "If anyone is found guilty, then there is no way we can be associated with anything like that. Violence does not solve a problem, and there is no place for it. I am sick about the whole thing.

"There is a code of conduct at this club, and life is about how you behave. We will go to work 24 hours a day to find out what happened. I hope we can find out something by Saturday."

Footage of the fight was aired yesterday in China, showing the Shanghai Shenhua striker Gao Lin throwing punches after being picked up by a QPR player. Both players fell to the ground, then others joined the fight.

"That's the style of English soccer," Dujkovic told the Beijing sports daily Titan. "But no matter what they do, it shouldn't be a reason for fighting. I am disappointed. It is not acceptable."

Gao, who could be sent home, said he had been provoked. "I failed to control myself in the match," he said in an apology published on Sina.com. "When facing the provocation I failed to obey the three rules of submitting to the referee, respecting opponents, and not striking back, which caused the incident. I sincerely apologise to the fans."

The China team are in England for two weeks, based at Chelsea's training complex at Cobham, Surrey, as they prepare for next year's Olympic Games in Beijing. But Chinese players said this week that they were unhappy with the practice facilities provided by Chelsea. They said the playing field was in poor condition, a claim that Chelsea officials disputed. In a practice game against Chelsea's reserve team this week, China's Dai Lin was awarded a red card and sent off in a match that also featured pushing and shoving.

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

Paladini probes QPR brawl

Gianni Paladini

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View GalleryQPR chairman Gianni Paladini has pledged to "work 24 hours a day" to get to the root of the mass brawl which meant Rangers' game with China Under-23s was abandoned.
Rangers are to conduct an internal investigation into the incident, which saw China's Zheng Tao knocked unconscious and taken to Hillingdon hospital with a suspected broken jaw.

The Football Association and Hillingdon police - who were called to Rangers' Harlington training ground in west London - are also investigating after referee Dermot Gallagher was forced to call a halt to the game during the second half.

"We will go to work 24 hours a day to find out what happened," Paladini said. "We want the investigation to be done quickly.

"I hope we can find out something by Saturday. If anyone is found guilty, then there is no way we can be associated with anything like that. Violence does not solve a problem, and there is no place for it.

"I am sick about the whole thing. I completely fed up. There is a code of conduct at this club, and life is about how you behave."

Rangers are currently fighting for survival in the Coca-Cola Championship, in which they are two points above the relegation zone, and they face fellow strugglers Southend at Roots Hall on Friday night.

Paladini continued: "We need to concentrate on the most important thing, which is to stay in this division. In football, you are provoked, but people should know better. Life is not like this. You have to take the good with the bad."

Earlier, an FA spokesman said: "We are looking into this very serious incident and trying to obtain information from a number of sources, including referee Dermot Gallagher." Press ASsociation

THE SUN - QPR v China ends in mass brawl
JAMES CLENCH February 09, 2007

THESE were the amazing scenes as a “friendly” between Queens Park Rangers and a Chinese side ended in a 30-man brawl.

The match was abandoned — and a player left unconscious.

Watch the Great Brawl of China

Chinese defender Zheng Tao was knocked out with a suspected broken jaw during the minute-long ruck.

A witness said: “There were punches, kung fu kicks and all sorts. It was absolute mayhem.”

Violence flared at the West London club’s Harlington training ground after striker Gao Lin jumped on a QPR player.

Others, alleged to include backroom staff, then piled in. Cops were called but made no arrests.

China’s Under-23s are here as guests of Chelsea who are forging links with Beijing, formerly Peking.

But the visitors also had a fight with a Chelsea XI 48 hours earlier.
The Sun

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