Weary Chinese fans steer clear of domestic scene
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After keenly following the World Cup for a month, Chinese soccer buffs have turned their backs on the domestic league, which resumed last week.
The attendance figures for the top-tier Chinese Super League took a plunge from where it was before the World Cup hiatus, according to the official website of the Chinese Football Association.
The average turn-out for all seven games in the 17th round last Wednesday and Thursday was 6,000 a game, while the average attendance for the first 16 rounds of the season hovered above 12,000 a game. No attendance figures have been released yet for last weekend's 18th round.
Fans shied away from the domestic series apparently still hungover from the excitement of the World Cup.
'I watched almost every World Cup game, nearly exhausted by staying up late for most of the past month,' said Liu Jinlong, an office worker in Shanghai and a supporter of CSL side Shanghai Shenhua.
'I will not go to a CSL game, at least in the near future. Not only because I have had too much soccer already recently but also because the level of play in our own league is poor.
'I just can't imagine watching those slow and erratic games. It's not going to appeal to me.'
Club officials across the league, however, have not been surprised by the decline, recalling a similar drop in fan interest four years ago after the 2002 World Cup. In fact, they believe the impact of the World Cup will not last as long as last time.
'We believe things will get better in a month's time,' said a spokesman for Shanghai United. 'After all, the league has already shown some signs of recovery this season. I don't think the World Cup will buck that trend.'
At the top of the CSL table, Shandong Luneng extended their lead to 12 points after defeating Shanghai United.