SHANGHAI, The Chinese Football Association have launched an investigation into a controversial second-division draw that resulted in a match official reportedly being beaten and allegations of match-fixing.
Baoding Rongda were leading 2-1 when the referee awarded the visitors Wuhan Zall a penalty during seven minutes of stoppage time at the end of Saturday’s fixture. The spot-kick was converted and the match ended 2-2.
Angry fans pelted the match officials with debris as they were escorted by security personnel from the pitch as the game ended, reported state newspaper the Beijing News.
Baoding chairman Meng Yongli burst into tears at a chaotic post-match press conference, alleging his side had been cheated out of the win.
The Beijing News reported that fourth official Yang Kaizi was beaten up in his dressing room, but the state newspaper did not say who was thought to be responsible for the attack.
Meng gathered reporters on the pitch to announce he was pulling the team out of the league, before quitting as chairman hours later, citing “personal reasons”.
Baoding, near Beijing, subsequently apologised and said the club had no intention of leaving the competition.
The Chinese Football Association (CFA) announced an investigation into the controversy. “CFA is taking this seriously and will treat everyone involved sternly based on facts and regulations,” it said in a statement.
“We would like the club to express its opinion in a calm manner. In the meantime we call on the fans to remain rational and restrained.
“The association will keep the public updated in time on the follow-up and handling of the situation.”
Chinese football has a history of controversy involving referees and officials and in 2009 launched a high-profile crackdown on corruption dogging the sport in the country, leading to dozens of arrests and prison sentences.