China soccer back on TV

SCREEN RETURN: Jiang Heping, head of sports for CCTV, says at the time some players in the Super League lacked 'professional ethics'. © Unknown.
SCREEN RETURN: Jiang Heping, head of sports for CCTV, says at the time some players in the Super League lacked 'professional ethics'. © Unknown.

BEIJING - China's top football league will return to national TV when the season opens next month, ending a four-month ban imposed because of on-field violence.

BEIJING - China's top football league will return to national TV when the season opens next month, ending a four-month ban imposed because of on-field violence.

In statements over the weekend on their Web sites, both CCTV - China's government-run broadcaster - and the China Football Association said broadcasts would resume when the Chinese Super League season opens on March 21.

The move is the latest aimed at cleaning up the image of football in the world's most populous country. The government-run Super League has been beset by chronic mismanagement, match-fixing scandals and on-field violence.

Neither CCTV nor the football association offered specifics about which games - or how many - would be shown on TV.

CCTV pulled the Super League from national TV in November, following a scuffle between players from clubs from Beijing and the neighboring city of Tianjin. After the game, fans attacked the bus of the visiting Tianjin team.

Despite producing 51 Olympic gold medals six months ago, China and its famed sports schools have failed to produce much football talent.

China's national team is ranked number 104 by world governing body Fifa - just behind Tanzania and just ahead of Fiji and the Cape Verde Islands .

China's national team was knocked out of 2010 World Cup qualifying last year, failing to make the last 10 in continental competition. The only time China qualified for the World Cup was in 2002. It lost all three games and failed to score.

China is looking for a new national team coach. - Sapa-AFP

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