China’s under-20 footballers to return home after German tour is suspended over Tibet protests
Youth soccer team had been targeted by activists at game in Mainz earlier this month
The Chinese FA will bring its under-20 team will return home from Germany after indefinitely suspending its tour over protests by activists who unfurled Tibetan flags at a game.
The youth team had been scheduled to play a series of friendlies against German fourth-tier sides as part of a project to improve China’s chances at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
But the project has proved controversial and become a diplomatic headache for Berlin and Beijing after a pro-Tibetan independence protest during a match in Mainz on November 18.
China’s players left the pitch for around 20 minutes in protest after the banners were unveiled in the game against regional side TSV Schott Mainz which the hosts won 3-0.
The German football association (DFB) said last week that the Chinese Under-20s would not play the three matches scheduled before the end of the year.
Then on Sunday its Chinese counterpart, the CFA, added: “It has been decided to pause the U20 project and arrangements have been made for the team to return home.”