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FIH Disciplinary Committee suspends three Chinese players, team manager
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?????Three senior members of the Chinese womens national team have been suspended by the FIH from international play as a result of their behaviour following the teams 1-0 loss to Scotland during the 9th Womens World Cup Qualifier held in August in Harare, Zimbabwe. Team manager, Li Xiao Sheng, was also suspended. The decision was rendered by an FIH Disciplinary Committee following its meeting on the 8th December 1997 in London, held as a follow up to its preliminary investigation.

?????The Committee decided that players Yu Shu Zhen and Yang Hong Bing be "disqualified from all international hockey activity for a period of two years finishing on the 31st August 1999," and goal keeper Ding Hongping be "similarly disqualified for a period of 12 months, finishing on 31st August 1998." The Committee further decided that team Manager, Li Xiao Sheng, "should be disqualified from participating in any management role with any Chinese International Team for two years until 31st August 1999."

?????The incident under investigation involved the verbal and physical abuse of umpires Naomi Kato of Japan and Jane Buchanan of South Africa by the three players following Chinas 1-0 loss to Scotland in the tournaments final pool match. Yu Shu Zhen and Yang Hong Bing were observed throwing their sticks following the match while goalkeeper Ding Hongping was seen throwing a water bottle. No physical injuries were reported.

?????During the preliminary investigation, reports were received from the six officials involved. None of the details of these reports were disputed by the Association Chinoise de Hockey (Chinese Hockey Association), which had imposed its own year-long suspension on Shu Zhen and Hong Bing immediately following the incident. In addition, a letter of apology had been sent by Xiao Sheng and the three players involved.

?????Nevertheless, the Committee concluded that "this was one of the most serious incidents that had been presented to them and stressed the importance of umpires and officials being afforded the respect and protection that they were entitled to in our game of hockey."

?????The Committee considered that the Chinese Association should receive a severe reprimand, "but in light of the actions they had taken themselves immediately following the tournament, and of their previous exemplary record, (it was decided that) no further penalty would be imposed."

?????In a letter to the FIH, the Chinese Association offered its apologies and its wishes to continue its co-operative working relationship with the International Federation. In that spirit of co-operation, FIH President, Juan Angel Calzado, and Hon. Secretary General, Els van Breda Vriesman, will make a visit in late April to the Chinese Hockey Association in Beijing en route to Sydney, Australia for the meeting of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF).

?????The FIH fully endorsed the decisions of the Committee, which was comprised of Chairman, HRH Sultan Azlan Shah (Malaysia), Wolfgang Rommel (Germany), Marijke Fleuren van Walsem (Netherlands) and Hon. Secretary, Robert Watson (England). During the hearing, the Chinese Hockey Association was represented by Mr. Chang Wei, Deputy Director of Liaison of the Chinese Hockey Association, who had been part of the management team in Harare. The players in question were given the opportunity to be present but did not appear at the hearing.