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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Flashback: QPR's China "Encounter" One Year Ago

One Year ago today QPR Played China in a "friendly"/training ground match: Perhaps a Nadir for QPR and coach Richard Hill. It's a very different QPR today...The incident elicited probably two-dozen "QPR Report" Postings!

QPR in training ground brawl with Chinese -Mayhem at Harlington as fight forces abandonement of 'friendly' By David McIntyre - Ealing Gazette
A game between a QPR XI and the China U23 side ended in violent chaos on Wednesday.
Police were called after the match at QPR's Harlington training ground was abandoned following a mass brawl in which a Chinese player was knocked unconscious.
He was taken by ambulance to hospital with a suspected broken jaw.
One onlooker said: "I've never seen anything like it in my life.
"There were punches, kung-fu kicks and all sorts. It was absolute mayhem."
The match was refereed by Premiership official Dermot Gallagher, who is set to compile a report for the Football Association.

The Times February 09, 2007 - Chinese in sorry state as police and FA investigate ‘Battle of Harlington’Tom Dart and Kaveh Solhekol

Queens Park Rangers hope that a supportive report from the referee in charge of the abandoned match against the China Olympic team on Wednesday will allow them to avoid serious censure when the FA completes its investigation into the 30-man brawl that resulted in a Chinese player being knocked unconscious and taken to hospital with a broken jaw.

According to a QPR source, Dermot Gallagher, the Premiership official in charge of the unofficial “friendly”, told the club that they were not responsible for the fight. “The ref said we weren’t to blame for anything,” the source said. “As I understand it, our players were only protecting themselves.”

As well as FA censure, police action remains a possibility. Officers from Hillingdon station were called to the training ground and are investigating the incident. The FA will use video evidence as well as Gallagher’s report.

The China squad, comprised of under-23 players, arrived last week for a two-week stay as guests of Chelsea, who are keen to extend their influence into the lucrative Far East market. However, the move has become a public-relations disaster for all involved and the trip may be cut short. China’s match against Brentford on Tuesday has been cancelled.

Li Xiaoguang, the China Olympic team manager, accepted responsibility for the brawl. “Although the participants in this incident were the players, I will take all the blame,” he said. “As the team manager, I would like on behalf of the team to make an official apology to all fans supporting our team.”

Gianni Paladini, the QPR chairman, hinted that he could sack some of his players. “When we find out what went wrong we will act accordingly. I will come down very strong,” he said. “If people cannot control themselves they should not be there, in that position, because sooner or later something like that is going to happen again. Therefore, it depends how much provocation was in it.”

Footage of the “Battle of Harlington” circulated on the internet yesterday, showing a serious mass confrontation with comic undertones as several of the China team attempted sub-Bruce Lee manoeuvres in front of fewer than 150 people at a chilly training ground near Heathrow. After 75 minutes, with QPR leading 2-1 and the ball nowhere near, Gao Lin lashed out at Pat Kanyuka, of QPR, sparking a confrontation involving at least 30 players and substitutes.

Richard Hill, the QPR assistant manager, raced into the thick of it and a photograph appeared to show him throwing a punch. A source claimed that Hill was trying to act as a peacemaker.

Gao was lifted off his feet by Kanyuka as the China player rained down blows. Both fell to the ground, then others waded in. Scuffles continued with fists and feet flying. One witness claimed that a little way off from the main mêlée, another QPR player attempted to throw a punch at a Chinese coach or official.

When calm was finally restored, one of the Chinese was face down on the turf. “Players stood around in groups and then started to drift back to the changing-rooms,” the witness said. “The Chinese were talking excitedly, and there were plenty of hard stares from them at Rangers players, most of whom were shaking their heads in disbelief.”

Police and an ambulance were called. Zheng Tao was unconscious for five minutes and taken to hospital with a fractured jaw. Chen Tao, the China captain, also reportedly needed hospital treatment.

“I was surrounded by about five players,” Zheng, a 22-year-old left back, said. “One of them knocked me down from behind and they began to kick me. I was kicked right on the jaw. Our team doctor told me I lost consciousness for five minutes and now I have to rest for at least three months. That is a catastrophic blow to me.

Gao said: “I failed to control myself in the match When facing the provocation I failed to obey the three rules of submitting to the referee, respecting opponents and not striking back, which caused the incident . . . I sincerely apologise to the fans.” The Times

QPR can confirm that an incident occurred at our Harlington training ground yesterday, during the game against China's under 23 squad.
The club abhor violence of any sort and do not condone the actions taken by anyone involved.
QPR will make no further statement while an internal investigation is conducted. QPR

And some of the press headlines:

DAILY MAIL Brawlers face sack, promises QPR chief
GUARDIAN - FA to investigate brawl with Chinese Olympic squad - David Ornstein
INDEPENDENT - Police investigate after mass brawl ends China friendly
Other Press Headlines:
THE SUN - QPR v China ends in mass brawl
BBC - QPR chief promises brawl action

SKYSPORT -Paladini pledges to take action
"Paladini Probes Brawl" By Tom Collomosse, PA Sport
AFP News brief Cool it, China Olympic coach says after London brawl
DAILY MAIL - Chinese in hospital as friendly ends in brawl
The Sun - QPR brawl with China stars
THE EVENING STANDARD Chinese in hospital as friendly ends in 50-man brawl
BBC - Brawl mars QPR game against China
Reuters - Chinese international in hospital after QPR brawl
GUARDIAN - China international in hospital after QPR brawl

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