Players, coaches blast CFA's halftime rule

0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, November 4, 2010
Adjust font size:

Branko Ivankovic, the Serbian coach who led Shangdong Luneng to its latest Chinese Super League soccer title last week, has joined the chorus of people criticizing the Chinese Football Association's (CFA) decision to prolong halftime breaks to 30 minutes to avoid match-fixing in the last two rounds of the league.

"The 30-minute intervals could distract the players," said Ivankovic on Wednesday at the squad's training base in Weifang.

"It also makes it difficult for the players to remain calm, and they also need to change their warm-up habits because their physical condition is not used to such a break between halves," he said.

Ahead of the penultimate round of games on Oct 31, all the league's teams received a notice from the CFA outlining the 30-minute break and only one minute of extra time in each half.

The decision immediately saw a sea of criticism flood the CFA with many coaches and players calling the move "ridiculous".

"I am afraid the decision, which is meant to do good and bring fairness to the league, will have a negative effect," an unnamed coach with Beijing Guo'an told Titan Sports.

Guo'an, currently fifth in the standings and gunning for a top-four place to qualify for the Asian Champions League, is one of the biggest victims.

During its Oct 31 away game against Liaoning Hongyun, Guo'an managed to come back from two goals down to finish the first half at 2-2.

However, it lost momentum after the long break in the cold local weather and was unable to score in the second half.

"It is not rational to have such a long break as the players find it difficult to regain their form," the coach said.

In a poll on portal website, more than 78 percent of the voters said the decision was absurd and violated the rules of the sport.

"It's unbelievable and ridiculous," said Wang Wen, chairman of Beijing Football Fan Club "The long break interrupts the players' rhythm and destroys the completeness of soccer games."

Wang believes that, under current circumstances, few clubs would dare to cheat and the authorities have over-reacted and should implement better methods, such as raising the level of officiating.

Facing strong criticism from fans, the chief of the CFA's development and supervision department, Liu Dianqiu, said the adjustments had been made without contravening any rules.

"Teams will battle for places in the Asian Champions League or fight to avoid relegation in the final rounds, so we had to take the necessary precautions," Liu said. He also stated the CFA would continue with the 30-minute interval in the final round on Nov 6 to make sure all matches kick off both halves simultaneously.

The CFA has also put other measures in place to ensure a "clean" final round.

According to Yang Xinli, chief of the CFA's technology department, only 10 referees have been picked for the final three rounds of the league.

China is currently in the midst of a huge crackdown on match-fixing and bribery and high-level officials, coaches and players have been detained.

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comments

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from