It's 16 years since a referee abandoned QPR vs China's Olympic team, it was 'absolute mayhem'
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A game between Queens Park Rangers and China's Olympic team was abandoned after a 50-man brawl featuring "punches and kung-fu kicks" ended with defender Zheng Tao being taken to hospital with a broken jaw.
The so-called 'friendly' match between the sides took place in February 2007, when the Chinese Olympic team were "looking to build bridges" with a tour of England that featured a clash against QPR at the club's training ground.
But the game was halted by Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher, who was forced to abandon the fixture when a mass brawl broke out. One eyewitness said it was like "the end of the world." They added: "The players thought they would be killed."
Another witness told the Ealing Gazette: "I've never seen anything like it in my life. There were punches, kung-fu kicks and all sorts. It was absolute mayhem."
During the second-half brawl which is understood to have kicked off when Gao Lin hit a QPR player, Xian Chanba left-back Zheng Tao was knocked unconscious for five minutes and taken to hospital with a suspected broken jaw.
The defender later claimed he was the victim of a cowardly assault.
"I was surrounded by a group of players and kicked to the ground," he said. "Because of the attack, I won't be able to play football for a long time."
QPR assistant manager Richard Hill was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and then released on police bail. He was also charged by the FA.
QPR vs China, February 2007. Dubbed ‘The Great Brawl of China’, the match ended in both sides coming to blows and seven members of China’s Olympic team being sent home in disgrace. Scenes no one wants to see (except we all definitely love to see it). pic.twitter.com/SfBUSJvyHy— liam (@liambxtr) February 14, 2019
Shanghai Shenhua striker Gao, meanwhile, said he had been provoked by the opposition.
"I failed to control myself in the match," he said. "When facing the provocation I failed to obey the three rules of submitting to the referee, respecting opponents, and not striking back, which caused the incident. I sincerely apologise to the fans."
Jia Xiuquan, who was assistant coach of the Chinese side, apologised for the incident.
"As the representative of the Chinese coaches I apologise for it," he said. "In the future we will put more effort in to strengthening the management of the players and will definitely avoid similar things happening again.
"Again, I apologise to the domestic fans who love and support the team."
Featured Image Credit: China Daily/Evening Standard
Topics: QPR, EFL Championship