The governing body of the Chinese Basketball Association has moved to fine the Shanghai Sharks 100,000 RMB ($16k) after crowd trouble at the end of the Sharks’ ill-tempered home loss to the Dongguan Leopards on January 25th.
The trouble, which flared up in two different parts of the Yuanshen arena, was sparked by some very questionable refereeing decisions in a game that the Leopards eventually won. During the game itself, the crowd reacted angrily to a number of calls and repeatedly called the match officials heisho (‘black whistles’ or cheats). Sharks players Liu Ziqiu and DJ White were also visibly angered by some of the decisions and the former ended up being benched to keep him from exploding at officials.
Following the end of the game, Shanghai fans then heckled the referees after chants of heisho began once again in ernest. At the Yuanshen, referees leave the floor via the away team entrance, which is directly between two stands that are often full of home fans due to their price and location to the court. A couple of objects were thrown at the referees as they left while fans from the two stands gathered around the exit to direct some choice language at the officials. At least one spectator was ordered to come down from the stands by the police, presumably to give himself up for arrest.
Things then escalated further when fans in another stand began to confront the officials at the scoring table. The insults, including a generous volley of ‘shabi’ (stupid cunt), were enough to enrage one particular official, who duly got into an angry verbal exchange with one heckler. As this was going on, another member of the technical team began to sarcastically wave the crowd goodbye, further inflaming the situation. Objects including a bucket of fried chicken were thrown from the stands at the officials while several Sharks personel tried but failed to make the crowd of around two-hundred angry fans disperse.
The club have since released a terse statement on their website apologising for the incident and reminding fans to both respect the officials and the law itself.