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Chinese Sport Commentator Loses Cool
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A Chinese most popular sports commentator caused a heated nationwide controversy as he shouted "Long Live Italy" and announced "I don't like Australia soccer team" after Italy oust Australia with a last one minute penalty kick in Germany early Monday.

Huang Jianxiang, a state-run China Central Television (CCTV) sports commentator, lost his temper as Francesco Totti of Italy scored a penalty with one minute remaining to give Italy a 1-0 win over Australia in the World Cup second round.

The 38-year-old shouted himself hoarse after Italian defender Fabio Grosso tripped over Australia's Lucas Neill's challenge. As Francesco Totti blasted home the penalty, Huang shrieked in excitement.

"Extremed and crazy as he is, Huang should quit as a soccer show commentator of a national broadcaster," a netizen named Zuotao Youmai aired view on, one of China's top portal websites.

"Huang totally throws out his status as a professional sports commentator, instead, he acts like a fan off his trolley to vent personal disgust with a team," another netizen Yangyu commented on as well.

Known Chinese portals such as and's online forums were flooded with messages on Huang's outburst on Tuesday. The percentage of netizens who blasted Huang and backed him seems to be "50-50".

A "Quick Vote" on reveals over 33 percent of web surfers says Huang's passionate paean to Italian football is ill considered; 13 percent hold part of his wordings are inappropriate.

"Huang went too far," said an identified surfer on forum." He shouldn't have praised the bad-playing Italian team and jeered at a brave squad, defeated though."

"Huang can bring out as much of his personality as necessary to make him stand out among other commentators, it is encouraging," netizen Yellow Hat writes on the sina online forum, "but saying 'I don't like Australia' is something audiences can't understand."

However, another group of netizens praised Huang's way of commentary as breaking with tradition. The vote run by shows nearly 50 percent think Huang's commentary is full of passion.

A netizen named Long Fire writes that Huang makes full use of simple and direct language to describe what had happened on the pitch.

"All of us should share the passion Huang brought in," he writes. "He shouted himself hoarse though, he is full of wisdom and excitement from head to toe."

"The World Cup itself is a big carnival, why don't we indulge ourselves in the quadrennial soccer party with him?"

"Definitely it was an undisputed penalty," shouted Huang in the last minute of the game.
"Grosso done it! He has done it! Great Italian left back! Grosso alone represents the long history and tradition of Italian soccer! He is not fighting alone at the moment!" he continued.

"Totti! He is about to take the shot! He shoulders the expectations of the whole world!"

"It's a goal! Game over! Italy didn't fall to Hiddink's team this time! (Hiddink led South Korea to knock out Italy in the 2002 World Cup). Happy birthday to Paolo Maldini (born on July 26)! Long Live Italy!"

Huang then turned to the Socceroos and yelled, "Go home! Go home! But they don't need to fly back to Australia. It's too far away. Most of them live in Europe anyway. Bye-bye!"

Huang was not repentant for his controversial comments in the satellite linkup with the Beijing live program after match.

"I am a human being, not a machine, and I can't be impartial all the time," he explained while being interviewed.

"Australia reminded me of a lousy team which eliminated China in the 1981 World Cup qualifiers. Australia is just like New Zealand team that beat us in 1981," he explained.

"It (Australia) is full of neutralized Australians who play and live in Britain. I don't care about the Australian team and don't want to see Australia have good results."

"Australia (which has joined the Asian Football Confederation) will fight for an Asian World Cup berth and it may not be good enough to contend with South Korea and Japan. But it will very likely take advantage of the Chinese team. So I don't like it."

Beijing newsroom host Zhang Bin tried several times to interrupt Huang to avoid further damage, but Huang rattled on until the linkup was cut.

Zhang then tried to switch the conversation to a lighter subject, praising the hard-fighting Australians and head coach Hiddink for the rest of the program.

Chinese TV hosts' preferences can be easily heard in their comments. CCTV commentators usually favor traditional soccer powers like England, Italy and Argentina. In the 2002 World Cup, CCTV hostess Sheng Bin stunned millions of audiences as she openly wept at Argentina's early exit.

China's soccer media is as racy as its English and German counterparts; despite the Chinese soccer team is not qualified to compete this time.

Since the nation launched a professional soccer league in 1994, China's media began broadcasting English and Italian soccer tournaments on television.

The following is Huang Jianxiang's public apology letter released after he is criticized for losing his objectivity during the match of Italian and Australia.

Dear soccer fans and TV viewers around the country:

I have attached too much personal feeling to the match of Italian versus Australia at the end of the game last night. After I woke up this morning, I reviewed the video of the match again and I feel there are some injustice and prejudice in my comment. I will make formal apologies to viewers.

I am familiar with the Italian football and I hope that the Italians can gain a berth in the last eight, which will make the matches in the further more exciting, but I have mingled my feeling and the role of my job. It is not a standpoint that a TV commentator should have. I will apology to those fans who express their dissatisfaction, opinion and criticism.

I will draw the lesson from this case and remind me of the role of my job and keep my personal feeling and job balanced. When we live broadcast the matches, we hope referees can be just, and as a commentator, I will try my best to be fair and to do a good job.

Wish every fan happiness with the World Cup matches.

(China Daily and CCTV June 28, 2006)

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