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Chinese Students in Czech Republic Fulfil their Dream of Becoming a Football Referee

 Chinese Students in Czech Republic Fulfil their Dream of Becoming a Football Referee

Eighteen students from China adjudicated in the lower football league thanks to their course at Masaryk University.

21-year old Xianghao Kong alias Harry (in the middle) went to matches sometimes with other of his Chinese classmates, although always in the presence of a Czech referee.

Football is the Czech national sport together with ice hockey.  The former is sometimes played in the most out-of-the-way villages.  In China, it’s completely different and it’s quite a headache to organize a competition in such a huge country.  18 Chinese students found out how different both worlds are during the academic year 2018 as part of a course in the Czech Republic where they could adjudicate in the lower football league thanks to Masaryk University.

The Chinese students studied in Brno all the last academic year, while being a referee at the weekends especially in the South Moravian and Pardubice regional competitions.  It was a great learning curve for them.  

16 male and 2 female students came from the Peking Sports University, which has a partnership agreement with Masaryk University’s Sports Faculty.  They had prepared several months for their almost whole year stay.

“We had to do an exam on the rules of football, physical tests and an English exam.  There were 100 of us at the beginning.  We prepared in a special group and 18 of us were chosen,” the 21 year-old Xianghao Kong explained. 

He has let people in the Czech Republic call him Harry. “It’s difficult for the Czechs to pronounce my name in Chinese, so we changed to this easier form. I know what it’s like – I myself have problems pronouncing the names of all the villages where I’ve been a referee”, he laughed.

The Czechs are better organized and tougher.

He studied in Brno all the last academic year and was a referee in the lower football league at weekends.  It was a steep learning curve for him. “The leagues in the Czech Republic are much better organized and you use an electronic system everywhere for entering results”, Harry says enthusiastically and he shows a screenshot in his mobile of an app, which tells him which matches he has officiated in and which ones await him.

“In China, the referee simply comes to the match, takes the match and leaves”, the student compares the Czech football world with the Chinese reality.  Moreover, matches in his native China are also played during the week and not at the weekend, as is typical in the Czech Republic. He experienced plenty of differences himself on the pitch.  “Czechs are taller and heavier, which can be seen on the pitch, where they are more powerful and tougher”, says Harry, giving another example. 

The whole article can be viewed in Masaryk University’s online magazine.

Photo: Pavla Melenová / CC-BY and archive: Sports Faculty