Birmingham fans cheer Carson Yeung's absence
Birmingham City soccer fans yesterday welcomed the decision by a Hong Kong court to block chairman Carson Yeung's return to the UK to attend to his financially troubled English Championship League club.
Supporters said his presence at last night's crunch European game against Portuguese side Braga would have overshadowed an important date in the club's history.
'This is our first proper European game in over half a century and the fans need to focus their attention on the supporting the players and staff rather than worrying who is or isn't in the directors' box,' said Andy Webb of the Small Heath Alliance - Birmingham City's original name - fan club.
Yeung was hoping to attend the home match at St Andrews and a large section of the supporters were planning a demonstration against him and his Hong Kong-based board.
Daniel Ivery, who runs fans' website Often Partisan, said Yeung's failure to secure a one-off return to the UK as he contested money laundering charges in Hong Kong was a relief. 'Whilst Carson may have seen his visit to England as mightily important, I personally didn't. I can only speak for myself but the focus for me was always on the game itself tonight,' he said.
Yeung had been granted permission to travel to London from Thursday and stay until September 19. But after the High Court was asked by the Department of Justice for a review of Yeung's bail conditions, it decided to revoke the permission to travel.
Yeung, 51, faces five counts of money laundering involving HK$720 million. The media is prohibited by law from reporting details of the bail review. A club spokesman declined to comment on 'an ongoing legal matter'.