Evergrande Crisis Doom China’s Grandiose, Big-Spending Football

One well-known Evergrande Chinese saying asks. Can the eggs be unbroken if they are destroy? This expression implies that no one is safe from a great catastrophe. This question is very relevant for Evergrande Group, the second-largest Chinese property developer. It also shows the ripple effects of financial problems on China’s ambitions for football.

Evergrande is the owner of Guangzhou Evergrande FC football (soccer), the most successful club from China. The company and Chinese football are now intertwine financially and politically. They will rise and fall together. This has had a ripple effect on the government, and its reliance upon football to boost national pride and deflect criticism while achieving its larger goals. Trouble is coming, as the Evergrande crisis shows.

Evergrande Effect

China has used sport for centuries to foster social cohesion, patriotic citizenship and a common national identity. China has been a dominant power at the Olympics in recent decades. Hosting the Summer Games in Beijing 2008 was regard as one of China’s crowning achievements.

China has long been an embarrassment in football, the most popular sport in the world. China has not qualified for the FIFA World Cup and has never scored any goals. China’s chances of being in the expanded field at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar seem slim.

China’s cabinet, the State Council launched a major football development program in 2015 to address this problem. It aimed at elevating the country’s programs, from the grassroots level, to the elite. Evergrande Group was the strongest supporter of this campaign.

In 2009, Evergrande enter the football industry by purchasing a Guangzhou club that was previously own by a pharmaceutical firm. Evergrande spent enormous financial resources on the development of youth academies, recruiting top international and domestic players and coaches, and upgrading its club facilities.

The club’s peak was achieve in 2013, when it won titles in the Chinese Super League as well as the Asian Champions League, under legendary Italian coach Marcello lippi.

The Evergrande Effect boosted public interest in football and laid the groundwork for the central government’s inclusion of football development in President Xi Jinping’s comprehensive economic, political and social reforms towards national revitalization. The government has made significant investments in the sport’s reputation and financial capital.

Football Arms Race

Guangzhou Evergrande’s success prompted other tycoons and businessmen to invest in teams to increase their visibility with the Chinese public as well as the government. The arms race for Guangzhou Evergrande was intensified, with other tycoons investing in teams to attract foreign talent to China.

Jiangsu Suning FC is own by major electronics retailer. It hired Fabio Capello, an ex-England coach, and signed Brazilian players Alex Teixeira (and Ramires) for close to US$100 million (A$138 millions).

The Chinese Super League spent 529million euros (A$772 millions) on players in 2016-17’s transfer market. This was the highest amount of any league worldwide, while only 147 million euros ($215 million) in income.

Guangzhou Evergrande has maintained its top spot in the league despite increased competition over the past decade. Except for two seasons, it has won the Chinese championship every single year since 2011.

There was a certain amount of hubris. Liu Yongzhuo (ex-CEO of the club) stated that no other team could win the championship unless Evergrande grants it to them.

The club has also been building a $US1.8 million ($A2 billion), lotus-shaped stadium to seat 100,000 fans. It is believed that it will be the largest stadium in the world. The construction of the stadium, which was only half built, appears to have stopped.

The Bubble Bursts Evergrande

It is clear that the Chinese have increased the commercial value of their league by recruiting elite European players. But, these expenditures quickly rose to unhealthy levels.

The Chinese Football Association intervened with a 100 percent tax on foreign signings and a salary cap for this year, as clubs were running large deficits. However, it was not enough to stop the bubble from burst.

These unsustainable expenditures made Chinese football clubs more susceptible to the economic slowdown caused by COVID-19 than any other international league.

Jiangsu FC is the current Super League champion and was the most severe victim. It shut down its operations in March just months after it won the title. It hadn’t paid its employees for several months.

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The Herald Sun’s Making Soccer Hooligans

In 2011, Rod Wilson, then-victorian Herald police superintendent, and Australian soccer’s governing body Football Federation Australia were warn by me not to amplify the actions of a few trouble football fans by inappropriately labelling them as hooligans in the media.

In particular, I highlighted the outsider image of Australian football and my concern at the labeling of hooliganism all spectator disorderliness at soccer matches. I also tried to explain how these characterisations might help to create, escalate, and sustain violence at football games. My research over many years into similar problems in Europe from 1863 to today informed my advice. I ended by pointing out a path forward for authorities.

Let’s hope the Victoria Police reconsider their A-League 2011/12 Season Policing Strategy. To do so, they would recognize that collective violence is a type of conversation between its participants. This cannot be stop by punishing loutish behaviour and suppressing violent ideas.

Since 2011, many things have changed. Many things have changed since 2011. Many things have not changed, however. The problem continues at the same level it did in 2011. Perhaps tens of thousands, if not hundreds, of supporters are being arrest and evict every game. The clubs, the governing body and the Victorian police are now making similar statements as in 2011.

Shift In Melbourne’s Herald Sun’s

We are witnessing a shift in Melbourne’s Herald Sun’s editorial agenda. While The Age and (to a certain degree) The Australian have been relatively silent on the issue or gone to great lengths to emphasize how the problem is limit to a few supporters, The Herald Sun seems determine to create an image of soccer that excludes Australian culture and its supporters. Rita Panahi (a Herald Sun opinion columnist) passionately stated it.

Let’s clarify, soccer is the name of this sport in the United States. Football is play on an oval field with an oval ball. One editorial attempts to create a divide between soccer and Australian Rules Football by referring to soccer’s violent Culture as opposed to other football codes. This behaviour is unique to soccer’s A League that we are led to believe.

A football fan who cheers on his team at AFL matches one day could become an aggressive and abusive thug at soccer matches the next. Herald Sun readers are often told by the Herald Sun that soccer is full of simpleton lovers and dim-witted semiliterates who use harebrained rationality because their perpetual states of outrage always leads to an aggressive ugliness that must have rooted in a deep feeling of inadequacy. All this from a woman who calls herself a quintessential soccer mom.

Melbourne Victory Soccer

We hear all this hatredful speech because, at Melbourne Victory soccer matches, we were told that the stadium suffered damage that simply does not occur at AFL or NRL, Super Rugby, cricket games, or at AFL, NRL and Super Rugby. According to Rita Panahi, you don’t see other fans acting in such a way. The majority of AFL fans will turn against someone who causes trouble during a game.

Are you really? Simon Hill, Fox Sports’ soccer commentator, has done the math and came up with these numbers. This year, there were 36 evictions at Melbourne Victory games. On average, 3.25 per match. An average attendance of 23,610 This doesn’t seem like an epidemic. These figures are similar to those for all AFL games at Etihad Stadium in 2012. There were 210 evictions in total for 47 games in 2012, an average of just under 4 per game.

No matter what your opinion, the Herald Sun doesn’t seem to value its readers when it comes soccer. They don’t give them historical, factual or conceptually-informed ones.

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The Genesis Of Soccer In Australia

Soccer has a long, misunderstood and complicated history in Australia. While many believe that soccer only became popular after the arrival of large numbers from Europe, it has been around for more than 130 years.

Collective wisdom held that the first game in soccer in Australia was play between the Wanderers in Sydney and the King’s School of Sydney in 1880.

An earlier game found last year, The 1879 Hobart game between the New Town and Cricketers football clubs. Recent research has reveal that earlier games were also play.

It looks like history will have to rewritten again. I confirm that there was a game on Saturday 7th August 1875 at Woogaroo now Goodna, just outside Brisbane. According to the Queenslander, 14 August, the Brisbane Football Club met with the Woogaroo Lunatic Asylum inmates and warders on the Asylum’s football field.

Handled Or Carried

After arranging the rules, umpires appoint and the rules were set, play began at half-past 2. Mr. Sheehan was acting for Brisbane and Mr. Jack for Woogaroo. The ball must not be handle or carried.

This description does not prove that the game is soccer, or British Association Football. The Victorian publication The Footballer in1875 provides the most convincing evidence. It states in its section on Football in Queensland, that the match was play without handling the ball in any circumstance whatsoever Association rules.

This isn’t the first game of Australian soccer. My mind is clear that there were other games. It is likely that the 1870 Melbourne game between the Melbourne Football Club (MFC) and the Police was play according to British Association rules. However, more research is require to confirm this.

It is worth telling the fascinating story of why the Woogaroo Association played soccer while all the other clubs in the region were playing rugby. It could have been decide by the Asylum’s superintendent, or the players. However, it possible that the decision made base on assumptions about which game would appropriate for inmates. This is an area for speculation and further research.

Diagnosing What Ails Aussie Soccer

It would make for a fascinating story if this was the case. Imagine that Australian soccer’s guiding spirit stems from its foundation in a psychiatric facility. This is a place of extreme difference, alienation and paranoia.

While soccer is certainly sick, metaphors of madness won’t work. First, such metaphors would trivialize mental illness. Second, the game’s ills are less dramatic and have more complex explanations

Australian soccer, as a game and institution, has faced many problems throughout its history. The truth of Australian sport discourse today is that soccer has one of the highest participation rates in the world. It seems that these participation rates are not translating into mainstream sporting success.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. There have been many booms in the Australian game: The 1880s immediately before WWI, the 1920s as well as the 1950s and 60s. And the mid-2000s. Waves of migration brought new communities to the country with a passion for the game, allowing them to rebuild it or create new clubs. Strong soccer cultures were create in areas like the Illawarra and Hunter by migrant communities that are base on particular industries, such as coal mining.

The game continued to thrive despite being played in other sports cultures. For example, soccer matches at the Fitzroy Cricket Ground were attended by crowds as high as 5000 before World War I. VFL circles were somewhat confounded when soccer crowds began to be compared with footy crowds in 1960s Melbourne. Throughout the 20th century, huge crowds attended international matches across the country.

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