China-Japan Island Dispute Forces Football Cancellations, Badminton Withdrawal
The Chinese Football Association cancelled football matches in Beijing, Qingdao and Hangzhou this weekend due to it being a "sensitive time," according to Wild East Football. The CFA offered no further explanation, "but all signs point to this being due to the anti-Japanese protests that have spread across the country." An announcement, "angering many fans," came Friday afternoon that the Beijing match would be cancelled. Following the next day, "the much talked about Hangzhou Greentown-Shandong Luneng match" was cancelled. Greentown is managed by Japanese Manager Takeshi Okada, and although the match was to be played in Hangzhou, the club was still "concerned about the manager's safety." There has been "no word" about when the matches will be rescheduled, but it is "more likely that these matches will be played midweek at some point in October" (WILDEASTFOOTBALL.net, 9/17).
WE WON'T PLAY: Meanwhile, the AFP reported that China has withdrawn all of its badminton players from this week's Japan Open. Officials cited "safety fears as ties between Beijing and Tokyo worsen over a territorial row." The withdrawal leaves the Tokyo-based tournament "bereft of some of the sport's biggest names and is the latest piece of collateral damage in a dispute that has dominated regional headlines in recent weeks." Badminton World Federation COO Thomas Lund said, "The BWF can confirm the Chinese contingent has withdrawn from the Japan Open. It is unfortunate, but the tournament will go on." BWF Superseries Marketing Manager S. Selvam said that the Chinese Badminton Association sent a letter to the BWF saying that its players "would not be competing" in the eighth leg of the Super Series event (AFP, 9/18).