Controversy at Volleyball Nations League as Germany refuses to play China

Society & Culture

Meanwhile: Golfer Li Haotong ends four-year winless run, unleashes emotional celebration.

COVID controversy hit the Volleyball Nations League last week. China and Germany had been scheduled to face off on Thursday, but the Germans refused to take the court after 21 players and staff in the Chinese delegation tested positive for COVID five days earlier.

The unusually large outbreak within the Chinese squad forced China to forfeit its game against France a day earlier (June 22). But according to local regulations in Quezon City in the Philippines, the Chinese players were cleared to play after leaving isolation.

When officials from the German Volleyball Federation (DVV) asked VNL organizers to test the Chinese squad again, the request was ignored, forcing Germany to pull out from the game at the last minute. China was given an automatic straight-set victory.

“The FIVB does not consider it necessary to increase the security for us players through a single official control test. That makes us angry and stunned,” German team captain Christian Fromm told Sportschau.

“For us, the focus is on the athletes and especially their health, and in this respect, we can understand the team’s decision and support it,” DVV Sporting Director Christian Dünnes said.

The DVV told German newspaper Die Welt, “It is therefore incomprehensible to us how the FIVB would not want to play the game against China five days after the positive PCR tests, without ensuring the greatest possible safety for everyone involved with another PCR test.”

Although organizers said the Chinese team did not have to do another COVID after spending five days in isolation, local Quezon City ordinances regarding COVID states:

Individuals who test positive but are asymptomatic or experiencing mild symptoms will be discharged and end isolation after at least 10 days from the date of testing, regardless of their vaccination status…Close contacts who are fully vaccinated… are required to complete a minimum of 7-days isolation from the day of exposure.

Following the German no-show, the NVL released a short statement:

The Volleyball Nations League (VNL) men’s match between China and Germany on 23 June has been cancelled after Germany refused to play against China even though the Chinese athletes were cleared to leave isolation by local authorities after testing positive for COVID-19.

The FIVB and Volleyball World have therefore confirmed that, in accordance with the VNL 2022 Competition Regulations, Germany automatically forfeits the match, giving China a 3-0 win.

The automatic victory was just the second Chinese victory in the VNL this year. Currently ranked 13th out of 16, the men’s side has struggled to be competitive in the tournament, despite claiming an unlikely victory over Brazil in Brazil.

The VNL is crucial to the world rankings that will decide the Olympic qualification tournaments for Paris 2024. Only 12 nations — including hosts France — will feature at the Games.

Fortunately, the women’s side has shown promise as they look to regain the form that made them Rio Olympic gold medalists and World Cup champions. The women’s team, at 5-3, is currently sixth, after taking wins against Turkey and Italy. Two of their losses are to the tournament’s top two teams, Japan (8-0) and the U.S. (7-1).


Li Haotong ends four-year winless run

Chinese golfer Lǐ Hàotóng 李昊桐 secured an emotional win at the BMW International Open on Sunday, beating Thomas Pieters in a playoff and ending a run of four years without a tournament victory.

It was the 26-year-old’s third win on the European tour, but perhaps the most important.

Just 10 months ago, Li admitted that he had seriously considered calling it quits on his golfing career after he had badly struggled to find the form that made him one of the best prospects on the tour.

After slipping to rank 460 at the end of last year, Li began to turn it around, finishing second in Dubai and sixth in Spain earlier in the year. He is currently ranked No. 134, but now is likely to break into the top 100 for the first time since 2019.

“Where I am now…it’s fucking golf, it’s just fucking hard to describe,” Li told a reporter from the DP World Tour after the win.

“10 months ago I just decide to quit golf, and somehow where I am now…I had no idea I could have won this playoff.

“I didn’t realize I could be that emotional, maybe just because I never thought golf could be that tough. Through a lot of tough times, I realized how good that feeling is to play good again.

“I tried to hit a lot of good putts today, especially on the back nine. I knew it was going to be super tough, but I held in there. Luckily I played my best.”


Other Stories:

China thrashes Lithuania to win bronze medal at 3X3 Basketball World Cup (Xinhua)

China Changes Law So It Can Hit Back at Insults at Sports Events (Bloomberg)

Spain’s La Liga Terminates Broadcasting Deal With Chinese Partner (Caixin)

Hong Kong Sevens staring at same fate as Jumbo restaurant (SCMP)

World Cup: Taiwan sees red over China ‘bullying’ Qatar into use of ‘Chinese Taipei’ as name changes again (The Guardian)

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