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Nanchang fan abuses referee over stadium loudspeaker

It’s something most fans have probably thought about after watching their side fall foul of poor refereeing: take the stadium mike and get the crowd to join in a chant questioning the match officials’s parentage. It’s usually impossible to act upon such impulses though – unless you are talking about the Chinese Super League of course. For this is exactly what happened during last weekend’s Nanchang v Guangzhou Chinese Super League match which eventually finished 1-1 (video highlights).Trailing Guangzhou by a goal from Brazilian striker Cleo at half-time, a fan somehow got control of a PA system at the stadium to urge the crowd to chant caipan chusheng, which roughly translates as “the referee is a donkey”. However, the Chinese term carries a much stronger and more derogatory meaning, indeed, chusheng can refer to any farmyard beast.

The rude chant did not escape the attention of Chinese FA bosses, some of whom caught the outburst via a live match broadcast. Unsurprisingly, they were not amused and immediately called Nanchang FC officials and demanded they put the kybosh on the shenanigans at once.

Sports 163 carried the story. It took a dim view of such chanting which it described as “of course, very vulgar”. The story quoted a fan as saying the referee had made several questionable offside calls and was a “black whistle”- a Chinese term for a corrupt referee.

Most tellingly of all however, was a quote from the fan, “Fans are paying customers – why can’t we criticise the referee?’

Why indeed.

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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