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Fans bemused by 30-minute half-time break

The wierd and wonderful world of Chinese football threw up another bizarre surprise when an announcement told fans at Shanghai’s Hongkou stadium on Sunday that the half-time period in their game against Qingdao would last 30 minutes long.

Many fans stayed in the stadium scratching their heads trying to work out what the reason behind the odd decision might be, whilst others, your correspondent included, took advantage of the elongated break to leave the stadium and seek alcoholic refreshment.

After the second-half finally began, Shenhua’s Blue Devils ultras group voiced their displeasure by chanting zuxie shabi! (Chinese FA, stupid cunts), amongst other choice outbursts from individual fans.

Sina Sports carried a story saying that such longer breaks were perfectly legal according to FIFA regulations, and quoted figures close to the Chinese FA suggesting that the move was part of an anti-corruption measure. All eight games in the penultimate round kicked off at 3.30pm, it appears the half-hour break took place at other matches also, but that isn’t clear at this point.

A leading international commentator on Chinese football frequently quoted by the world's top media. Offers piercing and resolutely honest insights into the bustling crossroads where football, society, economics and politics meet in contemporary China. Based in Shanghai since 2005, observer of the Chinese game since 2000.

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