Mainland netizens slam HK fans for sacrificing soccer for politics by boycotting police members

By Wang Qi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/3 20:08:40

Chinese football fans were furious after screenshots from Facebook went viral on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Sunday showing that more than 20 European soccer clubs' Hong Kong fans groups are collectively boycotting their members who are Hong Kong Police. 

According to the screenshots, some fan groups issued statements on Facebook requiring police members to quit the association for "abusing" power of the police and committing various "atrocities." The door of fans activities was closed to Hong Kong police and their family members. 

These groups include those authorized by big European clubs such as Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Barcelona and Parma and AC Milan. 

"Unfortunately, soccer has become the sacrifice of politics this time," An Yukang, a Beijing-based cultural scholar told the Global Times on Monday. 

According to An, the behavior of Hong Kong soccer fan groups is the epitome of those who dominate and manipulate Hong Kong's public opinion. "They turned football into a tool to encourage hatred and violence, as well as a tool for pursuing certain political interests."

The move would only increase negative impacts of ongoing riots and divide Hong Kong society, while soccer, as a world-wide sport with billions of fan base, is always regarded as the most powerful glue that ties together civic classes and promotes regional identity, An noted. 

In reply to the Global Times' inquiry, Arsenal club said that "as a club we are always apolitical. Supporters' groups are run by fans who will have their own opinions, but these are not the views of Arsenal Football Club."

Barcelona's Hong Kong Fan Club said in a statement that "Barcelona faced the persecution of the Spanish government for many years", which they claimed is "similar" to Hong Kong's situation.   

Liverpool FC's official Hong Kong supporters club said they have conscience and are ashamed of police fans, citing the example of Hillsborough Disaster in 1989.

Observers slammed these soccer fans clubs and said they are using the sport to provoke opposition and hatred between the police and the public, which is a sacrilege to the sport. 

"Shame on you! That Hong Kong fans group's statement violates basic principles of 'Football has nothing to do with politics'. As a Chinese, 'one China' is the unchallengeable principle," wrote Han Yu, the initiator of Official Manchester United Supported Club in Shanghai, on Weibo, expressing  his anger and dissatisfaction .

"I have sent an email to the club and I hope the club could seriously pay attention to it and solve the problem as soon as possible. I think the club doesn't want to see any damage of their image, and especially hurting Chinese fans' heart like that," Han said. 

"I support Hong Kong police; they no doubt have the right of being a member of fan organization. It is those protesters that should be expelled from our fan groups," said another net user. 

Posted in: SOCIETY

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