Whitecaps fume over Chinese team

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 7:21 AM ET

Vancouver Whitecaps FC president John Rocha said he would probably file a complaint with FIFA after being misled by the Chinese Football Association.

Whitecaps' Nations Cup tournament was supposed to include China's under-20 team. China instead sent its under-17 squad, which lost 5-0 to Cardiff City FC on Friday and 2-1 to India yesterday.

"We had challenges both to secure a roster out of them and some last minute visa problems," Rocha said. "We're disappointed in terms of the team they've sent here, it's not what they promised."

Whitecaps sought the urgent help of federal immigration and citizenship minister Monte Solberg to ensure the team's arrival after undisclosed visa problems last week. Solberg was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Rocha said the Whitecaps had been told China would bring some younger players, but "they said they were going to deliver the under-20 team." China's under-20 team hopes to qualify for FIFA's 2007 Under-20 World Cup in Burnaby and five other Canadian cities.

Rocha said the Whitecaps paid the travel expenses of the three visiting Nations Cup teams.

"We'll probably be looking for some sort of compensation from the Chinese football federation," he said.

China's head of delegation Guo Hui said, through a translator, the Whitecaps asked for an under-20 team, so "no matter you're 16, 17, 18, 19, you're still under-20."

Meanwhile, Rocha said the Nations Cup would probably return in 2008, because of next summer's under-20 world cup.

"There's not enough room on the calendar to squeeze everything in."


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