21 September 2019
Chan Siu-ki admits that his hand touched the ball. Mainland media criticizes the referee for not taking action against Chan. Photos: RTHK, TVB
Chan Siu-ki admits that his hand touched the ball. Mainland media criticizes the referee for not taking action against Chan. Photos: RTHK, TVB

The curious case of what TVB omitted in HK vs China match

For a change, TVB came out in full support of the Hong Kong team in the thrilling World Cup qualifying round in Shenzhen, which ended in a goalless draw.

But while its coverage greatly pleased the Hong Kong audience, the city’s No. 1 station, sometimes referred to as CCTVB for its obvious pro-China leanings, made itself open to accusations of bias by the home side.

That’s because it omitted, or rather, failed to catch a key moment in the game when controversial Hong Kong striker Chan Siu-ki touched the ball with his hand, which could have resulted in a penalty that could in turn spell defeat for the visiting team.

We are not sure if this was an inadvertent mistake on the part of the network’s coverage team or one aimed at reducing tensions on the day when China demonstrated its awesome military hardware to the world, but we shall find out after the Liaison Office in Hong Kong resumes its operation today.

To TVB’s credit, the television station was not the only media outlet that omitted mention of the blunder. The South China Morning Post also failed to mention it in its live blog or its report of the match that was published today.

But Chan himself admitted that he indeed touched the ball with his hand. He said Hong Kong is lucky as the referee did not take action against the fault. 

It was a crucial moment that mainland media blamed for their team’s failure to win the game which they said they could have won easily and won big last night.

Shanghai Morning Post‘s headline captures the general sentiment of mainlanders after the game: “Four frames and one hand cost three points for the national team”.

“Four frames” refers to the number of times when the frame denied China a goal and the “one hand” to Chan’s handball, which they charge to the referee’s negligence.

A story by Wuhan Evening Post headlined “Sorry, our national team disappoints” also made an ironic compliment to Australian referee Strebre Delovski.

“Some media said Delovski was a lucky star to Chinese national football team because in the four matches he took, China has not lost any points and scored in each match.”

The most valuable player of the team, apart from the frame – which was named the 12th player and the best friend of our goalkeeper for blocking goals four times – was in fact goalkeeper Yapp Hung-fai.

The Hong Kong hero was nominated by Commercial Radio disc jockey hosts to have his gloves impressed on Star Avenue in the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade to immortalize his splendid performance last night.

In fact, he should be considered a replacement for Real Madrid who denied a 29 million pound (US$44.17 million) transfer of Spanish national team goalkeeper David De Gea from Manchester United.

Hope those encouraging lines were enough to offset his anger for being called a “dog” by the national team captain Zhang Zhi after the match.

In his Instagram, Yapp rebutted, “You are mad at not winning the match and approached me to call me a dog. Asian Footballer of the Year, you have good skills, but you fail in terms of sportsmanship!”

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The ball bounces of Chan Siu-ki’s raised right hand. Photo: Phoenix TV

EJ Insight writer