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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

One Week After "The China Game" - Aftermath and Repercussions

It's now a week after QPR somewhat "covertly" played Team China at the QPR Training ground - after issuing a statement they would not be playing China at Loftus Road. the repercussions of what reportedly occurred, continue. In the aftermath of "the incident" QPR issued a statement. Yesterday, QPR issued a statement announcing the suspension of Assistant Coach Richard Hill. According to various newspapers a man (reportedly Richard Hill) was arrested on Saturday in connection with the incident and the FA and the Police are supposedly continuing to investigate. As presumably are QPR. According to news report, the Chinese are also turning to FIFA. The friendly was reportedly held at the arrangement of Chelsea. This week Chelsea announced they would be touring China in 2008.

Today's Standard - QPR suspend Gregory No 2 over bust-up

Off the ball incident: It all kicks off in the QPR v China clash
Queens Park Rangers have suspended their assistant manager Richard Hill after he was arrested on suspicion of actual bodily harm for his part in last week's brawl with the Chinese Olympic football team.

Hill was pictured aiming a punch at Chinese player Jiang Ning as fighting broke out between players and staff from both sides. Zheng Tao sustained a broken jaw and was knocked unconscious.

Read more:

• Great brawl of China gallery
• China player in hospital after mass brawl

QPR, the FA and the police are investigating the incident. Gianni Paladini, chairman of the Championship side, has vowed to sack anybody found guilty of an "unlawful act" during the friendly at their Harlington training ground.

A statement from QPR read: "Following the incident at the training ground on February 7, and the subsequent police investigation of the matter, Queens Park Rangers have suspended assistant manager Richard Hill from his duties until further notice."

Police said a 43-year-old man was arrested on February 10 "on suspicion of ABH". He was later bailed to return to a west London police station pending further enquiries.

Police also confirmed they are investigating the events which caused Tao's injuries, along with those of another Chinese player, believed to be goalkeeper Wang Lei, who suffered a fractured eye socket.

The FA now look certain to charge QPR with failing to control their players. A spokesman said: "We are in close communication with the police and we are awaiting confirmation of whether or not they will be taking any action. We will then consider whether to take any disciplinary action of our own."

Hill has only been at QPR for four months, brought to the club in October after manager John Gregory took the reins from Gary Waddock.

The pair have a long history of working together. Hill coached alongside Gregory at Wycombe and then followed him to Aston Villa before a two-year spell at Stevenage Borough as manager.

He finished fifth with Stevenage in his first season but the club, beset by financial problems, started to struggle and he was sacked midway through his second season.

Hill went on to work as assistant boss at Gillingham and Northampton, where he had starred as a player in the mid-1980s.

He was an attacking midfielder in the Northampton team who stormed to the Division Four title in 1987 with 99 points and 103 goals, before he sealed a club-record £265,000 move to Watford.

Hill also worked as No 2 to Brian Little at Tranmere before Little's departure last year, and was out of work when Gregory invited him to Loftus Road.

Despite the Olympic team being in England as guests of Chelsea, the scandal does not seem to have affected the Premiership champions' desire to increase their influence in the Far East, after they announced plans to tour China next summer.

No details of the trip have yet been confirmed by the club, but Sportsmail understands it will take place in the run up to the Beijing Olympic Games, which begin on August 8, 2008.

Paul Smith, business affairs director at Stamford Bridge said: "As part of our commitment to developing football in China, Chelsea will be touring there in 2008. We will be taking our first team and playing games on the mainland."

Smith confirmed Chelsea will continue to help the Chinese football team in their bid for gold on home soil.

He added: "This is a long-term project and Team China is a work in progress. Hopefully, we are witnessing the development of the team day-by-day."

Punishment looms over QPR brawl

February 14, 2007 CHINA'S football governing body will punish Olympic team coaches and officials as well as players involved in last week's brawl against Queen's Park Rangers, state media said today.

The February 7 match had to be abandoned after the late second-half clash in which one Chinese player, Zheng Tao, was knocked unconscious and suffered a broken jaw.

The Beijing Daily Messenger quoted Xie Yalong, vice-chairman of the Chinese Football Association as saying that a unanimous decision had been taken to punish players, coaches and officials of the Olympic team.

The degree of punishment would depend on whether individuals were passively or actively engaged in the brawl, the official was quoted as saying.

Seven members of China's Olympic squad were sent home following the clashes, which involved more than 30 players and members of the coaching staff on both sides.

QPR on Tuesday suspended its assistant manager Richard Hill following his arrest in connection with the brawl.

Hill was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm, a serious offence which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

The 43-year-old was released on bail but will face further questioning and possible charges following the outcome of the ongoing police investigation.

The incident is still being investigated by English football's governing body, the Football Association, as well as local police.

The Chinese under-23 squad is in England as guests of Premiership champions Chelsea.

The brawl erupted when striker Gao Lin, one of the seven players to be sent home, lashed out following a tough tackle from a QPR player. Gao later apologised but insisted he had been a victim of provocation.

China's coach Ratomir Dujkovic subsequently revealed that the players had all been warned to keep themselves in check in the wake of violent incidents in two earlier matches on their tour.

Meanwhile, the two Chinese players most seriously injured in the brawl, Zheng Tao and team captain Chen Tao, who suffered a fractured eye socket, are planning to appeal to world football's governing body FIFA over the incident.
They want an apology and compensation from QPR for their injuries, the Beijing Youth Daily said.

Agence France-Presse

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