Baoding Rongda president resigns after U-turn on Chinese league quit threat
Baoding Rongda's chairman has quit for "personal reasons" after the Chinese second division club made an abrupt U-turn on their threat to quit the competition after a controversial draw in their latest league match.
Meng Yongli stated his side's place in League One could be untenable in the wake of their 2-2 draw with Wuhan Zall on Saturday, a result that kept them bottom of the table after 16 matches.
But the club were yet to submit any documents to the Chinese Football Association - who had urged them "not to act on impulse and to reconsider their decision" - to begin the process of withdrawing from the competition when Rongda released a statement confirming their chief's exit, including an apology from Meng.
"With a thankful heart, president Meng apologises to everyone involved," read Rongda's statement.
"After the collective endeavour of each person of the club, Rongda have received plaudits from counterparts and leaders, but due to personal reasons, Mr Meng has resigned as president.
"We respect rules and ethics of the sport. And we are also convinced that everything that happens on the pitch will be dealt with fairly based on related rules and processes.
"The club understand the feeling of our fans and appreciate their unwavering support. But we hope all fans react calmly to this incident and do not act on impulse.
"We believe the crisis will be properly resolved by us."
The saga came about after Rongda were leading 2-1 when the referee called for seven minutes of injury time to be played at the end of the second half, prompting angry protests from the home bench that led to coach Johannes Bonfrere being sent to the stands.
The visitors were then awarded a debatable penalty, allowing them to salvage a late equaliser.
"We just need justice and fair play. We know we can't change the result [of the game] anyway. We don't expect a change. We just demand an explanation," Meng had told a news conference.
"We are unable to afford to play when China treats football in this way. Nobody can afford to play. How can we continue to play? Who will protect my players? They will despise me. They will despise Baoding Rongda.
"We quit. We can't afford it. We really can't afford it. There is no meaning in playing anymore. We can't afford it."