AFC Asian Cup: China ‘occupies’ USA according to tournament programme after printing blunder

  • Mainland netizens say it was always going to happen, and was just a matter of time
  • UAE organisers apologise after the programme is distributed to local media
PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 January, 2019, 12:27pm
UPDATED : Monday, 07 January, 2019, 12:28pm

China has “occupied” the United States ahead of the opening game of the nation’s 2019 Asian Cup campaign in the United Arab Emirates, at least according to a printing error that has amused and enraged mainland netizens.

An AFC Asian Cup programme published by local media outlet Etihad Newspaper, posted a map of the United States in its introduction for the China team.

“How come there is no Hawaii or Alaska?” one fan queried before adding: “Seems we cannot keep our territory intact.”

Another commentor said the publisher had not made any mistake as this was “going to happen, just a matter of time” while another said, “we have no problem with that”.

Many China supporters said they should pull out of the tournament in protest over the programme, which also listed two former China internationals, Du Wei and Huang Bowen, among the squad.

The Chinese Football Association also said they were aware of the incident and immediately lodged a complaint to the organisers.

“We understand the programme was published by a UAE media outlet and was not under the authorisation of the Asian Football Confederation,” the CFA media department said on Weibo. “The AFC has already asked the publishers to take back all the copies while the local organisers have also apologised.”

China will kick off its Asian Cup against Kyrgyzstan on Monday in group C, with pre-tournament favourites South Korea taking on the Philippines later.

Italian coach Marcello Lippi has already indicated he will not continue in his role with the CFA after the tournament.

China advanced to the quarter-finals of the tournament four years ago before losing to hosts Australia 2-0 in Brisbane.

They twice reached the Asian Cup final but lost both times, 2-0 to Saudi Arabia in 1984 and 3-1 to Japan, the hosts in 2004.