Chinese soccer club told to focus on goals, not gods

Source:Agencies Published: 2017/9/26 22:38:39

The Chinese Football Association (CFA) has told Super League side Henan Jianye to seek salvation from goals ­rather than the gods after Taoist priests performed an on-pitch ritual - and the team duly won at home for the first time in over three months.

The CFA is investigating ­after fans of the club invited 15 Taoist priests onto the pitch to pray for a good result in Sunday's match with Shandong Luneng, which Henan went on to win 2-1.

The Paper, a State-run newspaper based in Shanghai, carried a picture of the ritual showing a desk on the pitch covered with a yellow cloth on the eve of the game.

The priests made ritual offerings and waved sacred objects during the short ceremony among flags that read "Jianye will be victorious, the Heavens wish it!"

The CFA said that it had asked Henan, whose fears of relegation eased with the ­victory at their Zhengzhou Hanghai Stadium home, for an explanation.

"The soccer pitch is not a religious place and hosting such activities on a public sports field is neither appropriate nor conforming with the image of professional soccer," the CFA said in a statement.

"Instead of asking for help from gods outside the pitch, Henan should seek victory through self-endeavor and battling on it."

The ceremony was not endorsed or organized by the team, club officials said.

Henan, for whom former Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United striker Ricardo Vaz Te scored the opener, said Tuesday they were "touched

by the fans' desire and anxiety for the team to pull it together and fight to stay in the league."

But the club added in the statement, "Victory can't be gained through prayers."

It is not the first time this season a Chinese club has gone to bizarre lengths to get back to winning ways at home.

Guangzhou R&F repainted their blue stadium gold in July, saying it was better feng shui - and they have not lost there since.

The philosophy of feng shui - literally meaning "wind and water" - is influential in many parts of Asia, where people carefully position items in ­offices and homes to maximize good fortune and wealth.



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