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Hao Haidong in England now
(Shanghai Daily)
Updated: 2005-02-28 14:11

The transfer saga of Chinese veteran Hao Haidong finally drew to a close as the striker touched down in London Sunday, pending a ceremony introducing him to fans of his new team, English Championship side Sheffield United.

Veteran China forward Hao Haidong has completed a move to English Championship side Sheffield United, finally receiving clearance just before the January transfer window closed. [AFP]
Hao's trip came after the resolution of a lawsuit stemming from a 4.3 million yuan (US$520,000) unpaid debt owed by his own boot company to the Beijing-based sportswear maker Gweat. The dispute resulted in a travel ban on the 35-year-old former Chinese Super League Dalian Shide player, which had threatened to derail the move.

The two parties finally settled the case out of court last week although no details of the deal have been made public.

Hao would probably greet his new fans at Bramall Lane today before United's fifth-round FA Cup tie against Arsenal tomorrow.

"I'm afraid it will take at least a few weeks before he can actually play," said Xu Hongtao, Hao's agent. "After all, he has been out of training for more than two months."

A former bad boy of Chinese soccer, Hao has become a talismanic figure for China and played more than 90 times for his country. Dalian agreed to let him move for a symbolic price of one British pound as reward for his distinguished service at the club.

United manager Neil Warnock lined up Hao in a bid to gain access to the Far East's lucrative market. The club runs an academy on China's southern Hainan island and has invited several young Chinese players to train in Sheffield.

Meanwhile, Chinese national team goalkeeper Liu Yunfei and another professional player were arrested in Hong Kong for allegedly assaulting a flight attendant, but were released because of lack of evidence, local newspapers and police said yesterday.

A 25-year-old mainland Chinese man surnamed Liu and his 26-year-old compatriot surnamed Wang were arrested after shoving a flight attendant on Cathay Pacific flight CX110 from Sydney, Australia, to Hong Kong on Saturday, police spokesman Chris Cheung said.

He declined to name the suspects in full, but local media identified them as China goalkeeper Liu Yunfei and Wang Xiao, his teammate at Tianjin Taida, The Associated Press reported.

The Apple Daily newspaper reported the two players were returning to China after training and playing exhibition matches in Australia with Tianjin Taida.

Cheung said the duo allegedly attacked a female flight attendant after cabin crew told them not to disturb other passengers. He said Liu and Wang "behaved badly" but had no further details

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