To save their soccer club from relegation, a group of desperate fans appealed to the gods for help.
Prior to Sunday’s match against Shandong Luneng, Henan Jianye hadn’t won a match at home in more than three months. Another loss might mean that the club would be kicked off the Chinese Super League.
Hoping to get rid of all the bad mojo surrounding their club, fans invited a group of 15 Taoist priests to the Zhengzhou Hanghai Stadium to perform an exorcism ritual before the match. Photos have gone viral on Chinese social showing the priests dressed in blue and black robes praying and burning incense for the club’s success at an altar, which includes one large banner that reads: “Heaven’s will is that Jianye must win.”
And win they did on Sunday, besting Luneng by a score of 2-1.
However, the Chinese Football Association (CFA) was quick to dispel any notion that the Taoist ceremony had anything to do with the club’s much-needed victory, launching an investigation into the incident and stating that religion has no place on the football field.
Henan Jianye has agreed with the CFA’s assessment, claiming that a group of rogue but well-meaning fans had managed to gain access to the field without the club’s permission to carry out the ceremony. It has promised that such “superstitious activities” will not occur again in the future, unfortunately meaning that the fans will have to go back to relying on the skill of the club’s players and coaching staff.
Or they could always just paint their stadium gold for better fengshui. That’s what fellow Super League club Guangzhou R&F did in July following a shaky start to the season. They haven’t lost at home since.
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