Monday, January 25, 2010

Is It All Worth It?

There is a lot to talk about these days regarding Beijing Guoan: the squad's new players, including one of the league's top scorers last year, Otto, and the exciting young player, Wang Xiaolong, as well as the potential addition of "China's Beckham", Xu Liang, and the Griffiths trifecta now that Joel has officially signed for the squad and brother Adam, a defender, is on trial with the side. That's not what I'm talking about today, and honestly, I'm wondering what the point is even in continuing this blog.

A few weeks back, I taunted those who want to talk about corruption, at the time, the arrests and questioning seemed fairly limited and didn't appear significant, however today the appearance is far different. With the removal of Nan Yong and Yang Yimin and the two being called in for questioning (as well as former Shanghai manager Jia Xiuquan), and with the likes of even China Daily discussing their possible execution, one wonders what to make of Chinese soccer these days. Less than 10 years since the black whistle scandal that rocked Chinese soccer, this current one seems to go even deeper and be even more problematic. It appeared that Chinese soccer had cleaned up its image in recent years and was past that scandal, but now those reforms seem only face deep, and the internal problems that led to that scandal have only continued to fester.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for the fans), the extent of the police investigation and what exactly they are investigating or charging has been largely kept under wraps. How deep this scandal goes is completely unknown and with little more than a month before a new domestic season begins, the police investigation must be wrapped up before the 2010 CSL season kicks off. How can fans be expected to commit themselves to watching another season, to "live and die" over matches that could very well be fixed. It is hard watching nightly news coverage of Beijing Guoan while knowing a police investigation into the very highest level of the CFA is going on. Perhaps this corruption and match fixing can be used to explain why China's national team is so bad. Perhaps the change at the top of the CFA, combined with the current investigation, will revolutionize soccer in China.

Is there reason for optimism? Realistically, no. Until we know the extent of the corruption, its easy to imagine it as all encompassing and it truly casts a pall on the upcoming season.