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July 5, 2016

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Li Tie apologizes for outburst against CFA official

THE head coach of Hebei China Fortune, Li Tie, yesterday apologized for his public rant against a Chinese national team official and the selection process of the squad.

Li, accompanied by Hebei officials, flew to Beijing yesterday to personally apologize to Guo Bingyan — the man in the eye of storm. Li issued a statement on his personal social media account, saying he was sorry for “causing trouble for Guo.”

Some Chinese media reported that CFA President Cai Zhenhua also took Guo to task in his office earlier in the day yesterday.

It all started during a post-match press conference on Sunday, when Li, a former national player, criticized Guo for “not respecting local coaches.”

Hebei has four national team players, who left for Kunming, Yunnan Province, to train with the squad yesterday — one day after their Chinese Super League match against Shanghai SIPG in Qinhuangdao.

Hebei lost the match 0-2.

Li said the national team had booked the return flight of the four Hebei players on July 7 at 7:45pm. Since there are no direct flights from Kunming to Qinhuangdao, the players had to fly to Tianjin and then make the trip to Qinhuangdao by road.

Li said if the players took that flight they would have reached home at 4am the next day.

With a CSL match scheduled for July 10 in Qinhuangdao, Li called Guo, who is responsible for travel arrangements, and asked him to put them on an earlier flight.

Instead, a war of words broke out between them.

“I made a friendly request to Guo, but he was very impolite,” Li said. “Guo said the decision had already been made. He said if I insisted on the change, he would cancel Qinhuangdao’s status for hosting CSL matches.

“Firstly, I don’t know who gave him such an authority? Secondly, as a national team official, does he have the right to talk like this?

“What annoyed me even more was when Guo said, ‘Li Tie, you are a Chinese coach, therefore I will not waste too much time talking to you.’

“I want to ask so what if I am a Chinese coach? Have we achieved anything less than foreign coaches?” a visibly upset Li asked.

The former Everton player said the club supported the national team even at the cost of its league chances, but added that some of the best players were not in the national squad.

“(Jiangsu Suning defender) Li Ang was not called up because he had issues with Guo,” Li claimed. He even questioned why Guangzhou Evergrande captain Zheng Zhi was not in the national squad?

Hebei, however, distanced itself from Li’s comments. Club officials said they had spoken to Li over his “unsuitable comments.”

The Chinese national team, which is coached by Gao Hongbo, has been preparing for the 2018 World Cup World Cup Asian Qualifiers in September.


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