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Baoding Rongda FC makes U-turn over quitting Chinese soccer league

By Sun Xiaochen | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-07-03 17:49

Soccer club Baoding Rongda FC has withdrawn its threat to pull out of the Chinese second division in protest over a controversial penalty.

Baoding, currently bottom of the 16-club Chinese League One, said on Monday it will remain in the league and accept any punishment meted out by the Chinese Football Association for the chaos of the past few days.

Meng Yongli, who was removed as chairman on Sunday due to "personal reasons", announced the club would pull out on Saturday after his team drew 2-2 with Wuhan Zall FC.

In an emotional post-match news conference, Meng blasted the match referee for allowing eight minutes of second-half injury time, during which Wuhan was awarded a penalty that leveled the score. He suggested the game had been fixed.

The CFA is investigating and has urged the league council and referees' committee to also look into the situation. Anyone found to be involved in match-fixing will be severely punished, it said.

According to reports, referee Huang Xiang was confronted in a restroom by a group of unidentified people after the match. The outraged home crowd also refused to leave the stadium after the final whistle.

The sport's governing body said it is collecting evidence about the alleged assault and will issue disciplinary penalties to any party involved if necessary.

In a statement on Monday, Baoding said the events on Saturday had "escalated into a farce out of the club's control".

"To avoid things getting worse, we are cooperating with the CFA investigation and are willing to face any consequences," the club added.

Yuan Ye, a soccer commentator for the Sina sports website, said he expects the club to receive some kind of punishment.

"According to CFA regulation, any assault against a match official will incur penalties as serious as a block on playing league games at the club's stadium. If this happens, the fans will suffer."

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