POSTED: September 10th 2008

Football boss pays for Beijing flop

China's doomed Olympic team before their exit against Brazil /
China's doomed Olympic team before their exit against Brazil /

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

BEIJING: The fall-out has begun in earnest over host China's failure in the Olympic football tournament.

Football Association chairman Xie Yalong has offered his "provisional" resignation and Swiss sponsor Infront Sports, according to Chinese reports, has demanded a cut in its sponsorship support.

China's national team slid out of the 2010 World Cup qualifying race in July then the Olympic/under-23 side were eliminated after the first round group stage of the Games in August.

Xie told a meeting of the CFA's governing board he is to attend a training course at the National Administrative Institute for three months and during this time vice-chairman Nan Yong will take over his position and responsibilities. This may involve the appointment of new national coaches.

China went into the Games without a major figure in charge of the team after Vladimir Petrovic was sidelined following the World Cup failure. His contract has not been renewed nor has that of Shangh Ruihua, head coach of the women's team who reached "their" Olympic quarter-finals before losing 2-0 to Japan.

Infront wants a $1.46m cut in its sponsorship agreement, complaining that the World Cup failure means no sporting visibility in the second half of the year. An Infront official said: "Our request is quite reasonable as all our plans for the year fell apart. Such a bad performance was not expected."

The company signed up for commercial rights to "Team China" in 2006. Infront's deal covers all seven national teams.

Keywords · Xie Yalong · Vladimir Petrovic · China · football

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