Friday, 20 August 2010

From our man in China: Beijing v Barcelona

A friend of mine Ally is out in Beijing at the moment, and managed to get along to watch the local side Beijing Guoan play a friendly against Barcelona, boasting the likes of Leo Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic but mainly their reserve players.

The generally pedestrian match ended 3-0 but wasn't without incident in the stands. I'll let Ally pick up the story:

Being a pre-season friendly the atmosphere was pretty relaxed on the whole, with lots of people cheering a bit for both sides. We were however sat a few blocks from the Barcelona fan club, which was mainly local Chinese but did appear to include a few Catalonians who had come out to Asia for the tour. Part way through the second half they started a chant and lots of the crowd joined in.
Some nearby Beijing fans - unhappy that lots of Chinese people were cheering for the visitors rather than their local club - decided to respond by filling in the gaps shouting xiabi xiabi, which roughly translated means f***ing c**t.
However some of the Catalans - presumably thinking the Beijingers were showing support for their (not playing) midfielder Xavi - stood up and started to applaud them! Obviously some of the local Barcelona fans told them what it meant though because they quickly sat back down again!!
No such luck though for the match reporter on the official Barca website. He or she reported afterwards that "a number of fans started chanting Barca Barca, to which others replied Madrid Madrid." Either their local translator was embarrassed by the chanting and lied to the reporter about what the home fans were singing, or he/she just thought they'd take the opportunity to call Real f***ing c**ts...

Proof, if ever we needed it, that football (and the associated tribalism) transcends barriers of race, language and politics...

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Always glad to hear your thoughts. Be nice now! James