To my surprise, fans were freely walking back out of the stadium. The vast security team that had so diligently monitored the actions of the crowd inside the ground now seemed entirely ambivalent to their temporary exit. With fifteen minutes to kill, I followed many fans out to find a soft drink. Having completed my purchase from a vendor making his living in the shadow of the stadium named in honour of the city’s proletariat, I turned to face the Beijing Workers’ Stadium and bumped into three young men in identical green t-shirts featuring bold designs. Given the impenetrable language barrier, I made a friendly motion to demonstrate my wish to take a photograph. Their passive demeanour evaporated.
The referee blew, signalling time. One gentleman dressed in navy blue kicked out in frustration, two others allowed their chins to drop to their chests. One by one, all eventually turned to look in the direction of Ramon. As professional as ever, he gave away little emotion while shaking his counterpart’s hand. Yet nobody realised that this was to be his last match in charge.
Unless you are a Kiwi, the name Ramon Tribulietx is unlikely to be familiar to you. Yet his Continue reading
One common characteristic of Football matches in China is the extensive police presence. At the Worker’s Stadium in Beijing, each seating block is allocated numerous uniformed officers with more scattered between the fans and the pitch. The officers gather in rank once again after the match outside the stadium in plain view of any remaining spectators still loitering around, a show of force and a clear statement to any would-be troublemakers. Take a brief view at the photo below and you will clearly see many serving officers in khaki uniforms sat in the front row of the stand.
This behaviour shouldn’t seem strange to you. China is very wary of Continue reading