Nation on Alert over Soccer Riots

Chinese soccer authorities are standing in readiness to guard against potential violence on and off pitch as domestic professional league competitions resumed on Thursday.

Signs of soccer violence have already appeared at World Cup qualifiers and domestic league games in China, and if parties concerned don't take precautions against them, the volcano of violence will erupt sooner or later, according to Yan Shiduo, executive vice-chairman of the Chinese Football Association (CFA).

Yan made these remarks late last month at the national league committee, which was preceded by a series of international soccer tragedies.

A stampede at the packed game between two of Ghana's top teams in Accra on May 8 killed at least 123 people.

On April 11, 43 people were killed at Johannesburg's Ellis Park stadium and on April 29, eight people were killed in Lubumbashi, Congo and on May 6, fighting broke out among fans at a soccer match in Cote d'Ivoire Coast, killing one person and injuring 39.

"These accidents sound the alarm for our Chinese counterparts. We will try our utmost to stave off similar incidents on domestic pitches, and problems of safety and security are among our top concerns," Yan said.

There has already been violence during competitions in Xi'an, Yunnan, Zhejiang and Henan, but what troubles Yan more is the potential number of incidents which could be sparkled by the national team supporters.

The three home contests for the Asian World Cup qualifiers, especially the last one against the Cambodian team, witnessed poor performances from Chinese players, thus the fury of die-hard domestic fans.

The unanimous "go home" shouts against Yugoslavian coach Bora Milotinovic further display his responsibilities as boss of the national squad.

They crowd even applauded the the guest team.


People's Daily Online ---