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Henan soccer club criticized for Taoist ceremony on field

By Jiang Jie (People's Daily Online)    16:02, September 26, 2017

(Photo/Thepaper.cn)

Many soccer fans will pray during matches to wish their team the best of luck. But when such prayers become a major spectacle on the field, it can be more than encouraging.

Before the game between Chinese soccer clubs Henan Jianye and Shandong Luneng during the last round of Chinese Super League on Sept. 24, a total of 15 Taoist priests in black robes were seen on the home court of Henan Jianye. Large yellow banners with the Taoist symbol of Taichi were erected on a small altar-looking platform. Slogans such as, “It’s Heaven’s will for Jianye to win,” were written on banners.

(Photo/Thepaper.cn)

The dramatic sight was seen by many audience and it immediately triggered a big reaction online. While Henan Jianye eventually won the game against Shandong Luneng at 2-1, many pointed out that the victory had nothing to do with the Taoist ceremony and it is ridiculous to rely on superstition.

The activity also drew criticism from the Chinese Football Association, who on Monday wrote on Sina Weibo that the association has launched an investigation into the club, as soccer fields are not for religious activities.

“It’s inappropriate and unprofessional to host such a ceremony. Soccer should be soccer, and we call on all soccer fans to cheer for your team in a rational way,” it added.

The club also declared its opposition against religious activity on the field in a statement on Tuesday, arguing that the activity was organized by club fans due to the loose management on the field.

“We’re working to rectify our mistakes. We understand and appreciate our fans’ sincerity and support, but we stand firmly against any superstitious activities,” the club added.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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