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March 2, 2014

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Shenhua fans up in arms as club changes emblem

Shanghai Greenland Shenhua FC’s decision to change the club’s emblem has earned the ire of some long-time fans.

The new emblem, unveiled late on Friday, sees “Shenhua”, which literally means Shanghai flower and has been used by the club for two decades, replaced by “Greenland”, the name of its new owner and property developer, Shanghai Greenland Group. The leopard head image on the top left has made way for the logo of the enterprise, though a full-size leopard has been added to the right bottom.

“We need to fight till the end for Shenhua!” one of the city’s biggest fan clubs, Lanmo, or Bluedevils, posted an appeal on its official weibo account. “We welcome the investors. However, to change the club name first and now changing the emblem is touching the bottom line. We shall not give approval!”

The appeal received overwhelming support online. “If the club keeps the words ‘Shenhua’ there, it will eventually become a great club with over a hundred years of history. If not, this will be my last year to support the club,” said netizen “Haihai”.

“Now we not only have to fight against rival teams, we will be fighting against the owner, too,” commented another fan “Lewis Poon”, who, along with some others, plan to shout slogans against the name and emblem change during the team’s home matches in the new Chinese Super League season.

According to CSL TV broadcast regulations, at most five Chinese characters, counting the city or province name, can appear in a television news or match broadcast. “Shanghai Greenland Team” already occupies five characters, which means “Shenhua” had to be dropped at least when matches featuring the club are broadcast on TV.

The old emblem and club name can still be seen on the club’s official website, which was last updated on January 16. The club’s official account on weibo, whose last post was on January 29, has also not updated the club’s name and emblem.

Club officials could not be reached for comments yesterday.

The club changed its name to Shanghai Greenland FC, and the team was named Shanghai Greenland Shenhua Team earlier this month. Since then, divergent voices have risen among supporters, who blame the new owners for not including “Shenhua” into the club’s registration name. Local fans regard Shenhua as a sports name card for the city.

The two characters referred to the name of a water heater firm which was the title sponsor in the club’s early stages. It was retained despite the company’s withdrawal and changes in the club’s owners.


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