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Players and WAGs Taking to Internet to Slag Off Referees…

A player sending out an explitive filled tweet.  Another one openly questioning a referee’s decision via a tweet.  A player’s wife using tweets to attack a referee.  Does it all sound like another example of players and WAGs behaving badly in the Prem?  Well, it isn’t.

In fact, the English Premiership has done what it can to prevent players from using social media micro-blogging sites like twitter by treating the missives (“tweets”) the same as they would the player talking to the media.  Fortunately for fans of the Chinese Super League (Chinese Super League) looking to discover the most internal and random thoughts a player has, the league has yet to take any action toward a player’s weibo (literally micro-blog in Chinese) messages.  Both Tencent and Sina are major sponsors and promote their competing weibos inside Chinese Super League venues.  While Tencent has ads that include Lionel Messi in their favor, the vast majority of players, and EVERY Chinese Super League team, use Sina’s Weibo to communicate with their fans (follow my feed on Sina’s Weibo here).

Let’s take a look at a recent example (all translations are by me and may be fairly rough):

After the Liaoning match, Beijing captain Xu Yunlong sent out a tweet saying “He’s one of the Chinese Super League’s older referees, but his professionalism is still really bad, suspension (他也算是中超的老裁判了,业务水平也太差了,停赛了).”

Perhaps after that (and a few other player tweets following that match), the players got more ballsy, here’s what we saw after the recent Henan match:

Xu Liang, one of Beijing’s stars, sent this tweet “This group of stupid, smelly cunts, they have a tiny bit of authority and horde it over others, I can’t motherfucking bring water [to the fans], you’re all cocksuckers (这帮臭SB,拿个鸡毛当令箭,CNM送水都不让去,你们是干JB地呀!!!!!!!)!”

He followed that up by going one step further, after a Henan player sent a very negative tweet about Beijing’s fans, he responded “The last thing you should do is provoke the fans!  Think about what us footballers would be if there were no fans?  Think about when the Beijing players left the pitch and how they treated you on it!  Finally…Think about your legs (你最不该做的就是招惹球迷!你再想想如果球员没有了球迷还算个什么?那你再想想我们北京队的这些队员会在下场对阵有你上场的比赛里怎么照顾你!然后……再想想你的腿……).”

Is it just me or does that last part seem like a direct threat?

What makes the story even better is that the WAGS got involved as well.  Xu Yunlong’s wife sent the picture at the start of this article with a note saying  “Referee Zhou, this is for you!  See how important you are, I posed like this just for you [the middle finger photo]! Hope you like it (周姓裁判送你哒!你看我对你多重视,特意去摆了POSE拍照片给你!你收好啊!)!”  While wife of goalkeeper Yang Zhi wife was equally angry about the late penalty that Henan was given, allowing them to equalize, sending a message “You gave a penalty kick for that?? Were you kicked in the head by a donkey (这个给点球??脑子让驴踢了吧!!)!”

Perhaps this helps in understanding why Guoan is a hated side all over China, but I wouldn’t be surprised if other players (and other WAGS) are sending similar messages online.  As I mainly just follow Guoan players (I follow Wang Dalei as well, waiting patiently for another epic outburst), that’s all I tend to see.

It’s interesting that the league has yet to step in, but it may have something to do with the fact that Sina is a longtime league sponsor and these more incendiary “tweets” (weibos) bring more people to Sina’s site.  They even do a lot to promote Chinese Super League team and player feeds.  At the same time, for the fans it’s great to see players saying what’s really on their minds instead of the same old post-match interview of the “today was disappointing, calls didn’t go our way” type that we’re all so used to.

While there are still plenty of players who send incredibly boring “I’m going to practice now”, “I’m eating dinner now” weibo messages, it’s nice to see some players who have a real personality and really care about the fans.  Hopefully the fun police won’t step in like they have in the US and UK and continue to allow the players to speak their minds.

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years. Chemers' credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.

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