The Chinese Football Association (CFA) has sparked controversy for ‘racist’ undertones after publishing a promotional poster that warns not to underestimate opponents ahead of the opening 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup joint qualifiers.
The poster, published on the CFA’s official WeChat account, shows an image of three bare-chested soccer players on a red background with the caption says:
“Don’t underestimate any opponent. This team has people with black skin, yellow skin and white skin. For such a diverse team, be on guard!” read the poster.
It referred to Hong Kong, who have a number of foreign-born players including England-born Jaimes McKee and Ghana-born Christian Annan. Both teams will face each others in Group C campaign.
Meanwhile, the poster also formed part of a series which sharing the same slogan and pointed out on the characteristics of each of their group stage opponents, including Bhutan, Qatar and the Maldives.
Hong Kong forward Christian Annan, one of the three mentioned on the poster insisted that he isn’t fazed and take it as a ‘special’ compliment, stated that China are taking notice seriously on his team.
“Once we are on the field of play, it does not matter which colour we are, black, white or whatever as long as we are members of the Hong Kong team,” he told South China Morning Post.
Jaimes McKee, the England-born striker also shared a similar comments, claiming that China showed their ‘scare’ by publishing the poster.
“Hong Kong do have players of different colours in the national team and it’s a good thing. It reflects Hong Kong as a very open city with different cultures in society,” said the 28-year-old.
China will start their campaign against Bhutan on June 16 in Thimpu before facing Hong Kong at Bao’an Stadium in Shenzhen on September 3.