Soccer team cracks down on sloth

Updated: 2013-07-12 01:56

By QIU QUANLIN in Guangzhou (China Daily)

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In a new initiative to boost players' fighting spirit, Chinese Super League Club Guangzhou Evergrande announced a series of rules on Thursday to regulate its players' behavior while they are with the national team.

According to the rules, players will be severely punished by the club if they play passively for the national soccer team in international games.

"We need to improve the sense of representing the national team. Only when the national team achieves better results can we say Chinese soccer has developed to a higher level," said Xu Jiayin, chairman of Guangzhou's Evergrande Real Estate Group, which owns Guangzhou Evergrande.

The rules come in the wake of China's humiliating 5-1 loss to Thailand in a recent international friendly. Up to eight players from the club were included in the squad at that time.

"I have watched that game. The result was beyond endurance. It is a humiliating loss, for all Chinese soccer players and Chinese people for players' lack of fighting spirit," Xu said at a news conference on Thursday in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province.

"We have many players in the national team. It makes us feel that national honor is of more significance than the club's achievements," Xu said.

The Guangzhou-based club has won the domestic league twice since it was established in March 2010. It is also increasingly popular overseas after securing the services of World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi in May last year, in addition to several international players, including South American stars Dario Conca and Muriqui.

The club will set up an inspection and supervision center to regulate its players' behavior while they are with the national team.

Players will be awarded 100,000 yuan ($16,300) each if they are selected for the national team, but they will be fined 200,000 yuan each if they are dropped due to poor performance, sources with the club said.

Players will be suspended from training and playing for one month if they are found to violate rules in the national team. They will also be sent to a closed compound to receive patriotism education for one month after returning to the club.

If players cannot continue their soccer career due to injuries they suffer while playing for the national team, they will receive pensions of up to 30 million yuan, the rules stipulate.

Four players from the club — Feng Xiaoting, Zhao Peng, Zhao Xuri and Qin Sheng — who performed poorly in China's loss to Thailand have been dropped from the national team, which is preparing for the East Asian Cup.

He said the club aims to develop a strong squad that only includes Chinese players, and which is competitive at the Asian level, in the next five to eight years.