Bad News Blades

After being busted for match-fixing, it was confirmed today by the Chinese Football Association that Chengdu’s local team, The Blades, will be ejected from China’s premier league.

After enduring years of crushing disappointment, Chinese football fans are used to it, as the national team has faltered over and over again. Even though China is home to a massive number of world class athletes and football is among the country’s most popular sports, they couldn’t beat Qatar to qualify for the World Cup. Well, maybe that’s not being fair – they qualified for the Korean World Cup in 2002, even though they didn’t win any games or score any goals.

What’s Happening Here?

Chengdu’s local team has been mired by as much bad press and luck as the national team, but locals seem barely seem to bat an eye. China might have captured the most gold medals in 2008’s Summer Olympics, but their national soccer team (nicknamed the “National Foot”, 国足)  can’t seem to win a damn thing. Last summer they were ranked 108th in world rankings, barely beating the Sudanese national team but not quite as good as Rwanda. Wikipedia provides a few answers for the question of how things could have gone so wrong:

  • sub-par technical standards in training, selection and preparation
  • lack of leadership and vision from the Chinese Football Association
  • incompetent organization and government interference
  • corruption, especially in the refereeing of matches
  • low participation and neglect of grassroots and junior football (according to the 2006 FIFA Big Count, China had 708,754 amateur and youth players from a population of 1.3 billion(ratio of 1:1834) compared to 738,800 from 41 million(ratio of 1:55) in England)
  • over-reliance on foreign coaches (mainly eastern European, Serbian) signals lack of domestic coach development
  • unable to cope with the pressure from the Chinese football press and media

What do you think?

The Blades play Chelsea and get pounded, losing 7-0

It’s hard to imagine how things can get much worse when the tiny Arab peninsula of Qatar is an insurmountable obstacle for China’s national team.

What are you thoughts on how China can remedy its national football program? Are you sad to see the Blades get demoted, or do they deserve it?

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Charlie

About Charlie

Having lived in Chengdu for ten years, Charlie has traveled to every corner of China and back again, calling the Yulin neighborhood of Chengdu his adopted home.

11 Responses to “Bad News Blades”

  1. Seabass

    China’s ability to even qualify for the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup was due much in part to the fact that Japan & Korea received automatic entries as tournament co-hosts. These two countries would usually win qualifying spots from the Asian group in any other world cup year. For a country that pours as much into Olympic training spending as the USA or the former USSR (not to mention 1.4 billion people), their national soccer team is some serious weak sauce. Sorry to be a hater, but that’s the facts.

    • Charlie

      Thanks for adding that re: 2002 World Cup.

      I think when you look at the evidence anyone would be amazed at how terrible the national soccer team is. It only makes sense that it’ll turn around one day though – right??

      I wonder what this means for Blades’ games – they’ll be playing against even worse teams? The games themselves were already borderline unwatchable when they go 5+ games in a row without scoring a single goal!

  2. That ain’t hatin Rick, that’s speakin truth to wakness.

    I watched the Blades a few times here in the Dirty Du stadium, drinking beers with Dread Scott and hootin and hollerin. Nobody — Chinese, English, Canine — who goes to these games cares about the Blades. Its about yelling, chillin in the sun, smoking cigarettes, ruthlessly insulting the wakness of both teams and yelling “Veterinarian!” every time any player goes down holding a knee

  3. Is it “hatred” every time someone expresses a diverse opinion? Every single thread has hate hate hate all over it.

    The love you receive is equal to the love you give away.

  4. The national team don’t even qualify to be called sub-par. Possibly the biggest embarrassement for China on an international scale and for a country that cares so much about face they don’t seem to do much about it.

    Losing to low-level Primera Leagua clubs (Spanish) just goes to show their quality.

    The Blades? Nothing new there. It’s not like they were the only team match-fixing, they just happened to be the only team that got caught so far.

    • Charlie

      Guangzhou’s team got demoted also, and the team from Qingdao got disqualified completely for, get this: trying to score in the wrong goal at the behest of the owner who had placed a large bet. The video of the match being posted online is what prompted the investigation! http://tinyurl.com/yzv3r2r

  5. Singaporean Giant Panda Reply February 24, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    The moral downfall of Chengdu Blades and 2 other football clubs marks yet another decade of lead for China’s football.

  6. Seabass

    I haven’t been to too many Blades games, but I’m always down to get behind the home town team no matter the (low) level of play. Also, I recommend going to bubble tea shop on the northwest corner of the stadium area, just beyond the Sheraton and paying for 2 (or more) large bubble tea cups. Then fill them with beer at the store just next door and walk into the stadium with lots of “tea”. With this news, there will be even more of a need to fill up beforehand. Although isn’t it possible the Blades could even lose the funding or sponsorship backing necessary to even play in the stadium?

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