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Thursday, January 28, 2021

China cancels its under-20 team’s German tour over Tibet flag displays

Players from the TSV Schott Mainz tried to intervene, calling on the activists not to interrupt the game. (Photo courtesy: DW)
Players from the TSV Schott Mainz tried to intervene, calling on the activists not to interrupt the game. (Photo courtesy: DW)

(TibetanReview.net, Dec24, 2017) – A month after suspending the tour, China has given up hope and decided to abandon a series of friendly matches for its under-20 national soccer team against fourth-tier clubs in Germany, seeing no hope for being able to prevent Tibetan flags from being displayed by spectators during matches.

The project was suspended on Nov 24 until the winter break after the Chinese team walked off the field at fourth-division club TSV Schott Mainz when a small group of onlookers displayed the flags during a Nov 18 match.

The German football federation has now said it has agreed with its Chinese counterpart “not to continue” the games in southwestern Germany, reported the AP Dec 23.

The Chinese under-20 team was invited to play friendly matches on free matchdays caused by an uneven number of teams in the German regional league.

The friendly matches were part of a five-year cooperation agreement signed by the two countries last year. The agreement was intended to help China boost its level of football skill ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and give the German FA easier access to the vast Asian market.

However, the invitation was controversial from, the very beginning with the project being perceived in some quarters as the German Football Association beginning to open up German football to hostile foreign money. Three Regionalliga Suedwest clubs – Waldhof, Kickers Stuttgart und TuS Koblenz – had refused to participate in the China friendlies project amid pressure from their fans.

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