Guangzhou Aussie Rules club accused of being racist, expat players of being “unruly”Posted: 03/4/2013 1:56 pm
The head of Aussie Rules football club the Guangzhou Scorpions has hit back at what he calls “unfounded” newspaper reports alleging Chinese nationals playing the sport are targets for abuse and racism by “unruly expatriates.”
In an open letter, Scorpions president Jon Hopper rejects allegations that some Chinese players where the victims of racism during a recent event to mark Australia Day in Guangzhou.
“There was absolutely no abuse or racism of any player, official or spectator during the days events and the assertions being made are completely inaccurate,” he said.
The accusations first surfaced in Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper in which a video, sent by reporter Aaron Langmaid to The Nanfang, was used to base the allegations.
In the video, a spectator can be heard yelling at individual players. The “profane” language, which can be heard in the video, has been deemed inappropriate by the Scorpions’ president.
But in the open letter, Mr Hopper believes characterizing the behaviour as racist is unfair, and that more than two hours of material on the web gives a more accurate representation of what took place.
“The comment was in no way racist and most importantly in the context of these discussions was certainly not directed at a Chinese player, as is being suggested,” he added.
Darrell Egan, an ex-pro who founded Macau’s only all-Chinese football team, said that abuse does sometimes take place in the oval.
He told the Herald Sun:
“This game appears to be about expat egos and race exclusiveness … not what is good for footy in Asia.”
Mr Egan claimed Chinese football players were being put off by the “ugly attitudes” directed at them. The open letter failed to address the specifics of his concerns.
The claims and counterclaims threaten to overshadow the grassroots success of Aussie Rules Football in the region.
What do you think? Here’s the video:
Image: Herald Sun