China FA probes mass on-pitch brawl between Wuhan Hongxing and Jiangsu Suning
China football authorities start investigation into violence on the pitch in an FA Cup match with angry hosts from the amateur side attacking players of the big-spending club
China’s football authorities launched an investigation on Thursday after a mass brawl erupted at a Chinese FA Cup match involving big-spending Jiangsu Suning, with one player receiving a kung fu-style flying kick.
Violence broke out when towering Jiangsu striker Ge Wei scored in the ninth minute of extra time for a 1-0 win against amateur side Wuhan Hongxing, prompting enraged Wuhan players to attack the visiting team.
The ruckus saw Chinese international midfielder Wu Xi receive a flying kick to the back as fists flew and combatants chased each other across the pitch.
Jiangsu led a world-leading transfer spending spree earlier this year, but because of Chinese FA Cup rules, megabucks signings Alex Teixeira, Ramires and Jo were not playing on Wednesday.
The incident is embarrassing for Chinese football, which has made intense efforts to clean itself up after a series of scandals and sees itself as a future global power in the sport.
The Chinese Football Association called it a “very serious breach of discipline”.
“The Chinese FA takes this matter very seriously and have already launched a formal investigation,” the body said.
“We are firmly against any kind of violent, ill-disciplined or harmful actions on the pitch and call on all participants at football matches, including fans, players and staff, to behave in a rational manner at all times.”
English teacher Jamie McIlroy, who was at the match, said: “I’ve never seen anything like it ... The Wuhan bench just all ran on the pitch and started attacking the Jiangsu players.”
Jiangsu, managed by former Chelsea winger Dan Petrescu, did their best to break down a Wuhan side who often resorted to time-wasting tactics – with the stretcher coming on 11 times in the second half alone.
“It was totally Wuhan’s fault,” said McIlroy. “They kept wasting time blatantly and I think they simply couldn’t take getting beat.”
Wuhan general manager Huang Chenggao, in an interview with Sina Sports, apologised for the fight and said: “The players involved will be fired.”
With international interest at an all-time high following the capture of a series of top players, national media lamented that the incident would reflect badly on Chinese football.
CCTV commentator Han Qiaosheng said: “I hope the police get involved. There is no way we can let violence ruin our rejuvenated game here – the severest punishment must be meted out to the offending players at once.”