Football China 2005 01-18-2006 16:07

2005 will not go down as a vintage year for Chinese football. After failing to make the World Cup finals in Germany, the team can't seem to interest people from home and abroad. Adding to that, the Chinese Super League is a total mess, so much so that the Football Association failed to find anyone to sponsor the league. The only slight consolations? China's performance in the East Asian Football Championship and East Asian Games was something. But not enough!

National team at a cross road

In June, China lifted the East Asian Football Championship trophy for the first time since the four-nation tournament started in 1990. China's one win and two draws was enough for them to top the rankings with five points.

The win seemed to spur the team on - they, won the East Asian Games championship in Macao not long after.

But, after their 3-0 defeat to Spain, 1-0 loss to Ireland, 1-0 defeat to Germany, 2-0 loss to Serbia and Montenegro, and goalless draw with Bulgaria, the two titles are too little, too late.

The team may have two cheap trophies, but failing to score in 5 international friendlies makes 2005 a disastrous year for Chinese men's football.

Women's team needs rejuvenation

Chinese women's team hasn鈥檛 got much to feel pleased about either - the team hit rock bottom in 2005. They finished last at the East Asian Four-nation Tournament, and were defeated by Japan in the Under 17s Asian Youth Championship.

Pei Encai, who as head coach led Wuhan to a seven-game winning streak in the Super League, couldn't do anything similar with the Iron Roses, and resigned in frustration just 163 days into the job. Now Ma Liangxing, a former head coach of the team, has made a surprising return to his old post - fans hope he can produce the results they want.

Youth team bring some hope

But fans did have some good news: The youth team entered the last sixteen at the World U20 Youth Championship, and the last eight at the U17 World Youth Championship. They couldn't go all the way though: the teams weren't solid or stable, they got nervous easily, and they made stupid mistakes during the games. Also, many rival countries don't attach much importance to the youth championships, giving teams like China an easier ride.

No sponsor for 2005 Super League

The Football Association announced that the 2005 Super League season will be without any sponsor, even after delaying the league for a month as they searched.

Sponsorship difficulties emerged following the previous season's disastrous Super League campaign, which was tainted by plummeting game attendance, poor refereeing, threats of game boycotts by clubs, and allegations of corruption, matchfixing and gambling.

Luneng heavily punished

Shandong Luneng were another team in trouble - they received the heaviest ever punishment from the Asian Football Confederation in November, following incidents during their AFC Champions League quarter-final second leg clash with Al Ittihad in September.

Chinese international Zheng Zhi was suspended from playing for six months, while Bulgaria International defender Pazin was given a similar ban for 18 months after both were charged with verbally assaulting and spitting at the referee.

However after efforts from the Chinese Football Association, the sanctions have been reduced. The AFC released a statement, revealing that the scope of the bans had been reevaluated and will now just apply to AFC competitions with Zheng now suspended for three matches only.

Guo'an cooperate with Real Madrid

So, any good news at all...? Well, Chinese Super League side Beijing Guoan are likely to put "Real Madrid" before their official name next year, after reaching a cooperation agreement with the Spanish Primera Liga giants. The deal is seen by many as historic, as "the Galacticos" could become the biggest-ever foreign investor in Chinese football.

Under the pact, the Spanish club will acquire five percent of Guoan, a figure that's worth 800,000 Euros. The move should help the Chinese partner find more sponsors around the globe. They are also expected to provide technical support to Guoan, including sending foreign imports and coaches.


About Us . Get the Channel? . Contact Us Xinhua . People's Daily . China Daily . CRI . . cycnet . eastday .
Copyright © 2005 China Central Television, All Rights Reserved