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Football, China

Chinese football authorities say sorry for poor performance

China's Guangzhou Evergrande fans
China's Guangzhou Evergrande fans REUTERS/Bobby Yip
2 min

Chinese football authorities have apologised for the poor performance of the country’s national team in 2018 World Cup qualifying. But fans fans rejected the apology

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Last week, China didn’t get further than a 0-0 draw against tiny Hong Kong, and China’s hopes of reaching Russia in 2018 are hanging by a thread.

The Chinese national team stands third in their group with two games left and are struggling to reach the next round of Asian qualifiers.

The Chinese Football Association (CFA) said on its website that industry executives, coaches and players felt "the same disappointment and pain" as the fans, and were "deeply sorry and facing enormous pressure."

The statement deplored the "lack of a [football] culture and... teams that are not very competitive,” saying it is “difficult to expect that early reforms would have an immediate effect."

Signalling that French coach Alain Perrin's position could be under threat, it said the organisation would carry out a "comprehensive assessment" of his performance and "seriously analyse" it after supporters called for his dismissal.

The CFA acknowleged that it "cannot escape and will not choose to escape" censure.

Perrin was hired in February 2014 with hopes he could lead China to its first World Cup finals since 2002.

China is the world's most populous country and second-largest economy, and officials have ambitions to host and even win a World Cup, but the team currently languishes in 84th place in the Fifa world rankings, behind Cyprus and Antigua and Barbuda.

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