German Football Association axes China U20 friendlies | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 25.12.2017
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German Football Association axes China U20 friendlies

Fan protests have borne fruit. Germany’s Football Association (DFB) has decided against resuming the friendlies between China’s U20 team and clubs from the Regionalliga Südwest. Clubs will "fight for the money" promised.

The German Football Association has decided to discontinue China U20's friendlies against Regionalliga Südwest opposition after just one game.

The official reason given for the decision is the Chinese team's reaction to pro-Tibet protesters that attended a friendly between China U20 and TSV Schott Mainz. The protesters flew the Tibetan flag, causing the Chinese team to leave the pitch until the flags were removed.

"The suspension has been decided by the DFB and the Chinese football association," said the short announcement by German football's governing body.

The Chinese team's next opposition, FSV Frankfurt, then refused to ban further protests. "We will not back a single centimeter off the basic rights of our democracy," the club's President Michael Görner said when asked about the prospect of banning fan banners and Tibetan flags. The game ended up being cancelled.

Fußball TSV Schott Mainz - U20 China (picture-alliance/Beautiful Sports/A. Kohring)

Pro-Tibet protesters at China U20's friendly at TSV Schott Mainz

Clubs to demand payment

As part of the plan to introduce a series of friendlies with China's U20 team, every club that agreed to take part was promised a payment of 15,000 euros per game. Now that the project has been axed, questions will be asked as to whether the DFB will be paying that money.

"We, and other clubs, will fight for the money," Kickers Offenbach CEO Christopher Fiori said. "We have a contract, we reserved the dates and were ready to play. We will not be willing to give up the money."

FSV Frankfurt boss Görner agrees. "Our match (against China U20) has been canceled with less than 24 hours to go. The costs for the club amount to 6,000 euros, which we demand that the DFB will pay," he added. Both spoke to German daily newspaper Bild.

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