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Maybe this is why Menezes....


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...was not in game shape.

China to kick off season in July after SARS delay

BEIJING, June 14 (Reuters) - China will kick off its domestic soccer season in early July after postponing it for almost two months due the outbreak of SARS, state newspapers said on Saturday.

But it was unclear whether five A League clubs from non-infected areas would agree to take part in the action after they initially opposed the decision to begin play on July 2, the Beijing Youth Daily said.

The Chinese Football Association had set a deadline of June 18 for the squads to decide whether to participate, the paper said but did not name the clubs.

It said China's B League season would open on July 5.

China suspended the start of the soccer season, which normally begins in mid-May, as the number of newly-reported SARS cases began to surge in late April.

Soccer's world governing body FIFA also decided to move the women's World Cup from China to the United States because of the the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

But China's daily reported figures have dropped and no new cases were reported over the last two weeks prompting the World Health Organisation to lift SARS warnings against travel to areas in mainland China except Beijing.

Nevertheless, the league had banned organised fan clubs from travelling to other cities to watch their team play and stadiums had been ordered to adopt strict prevention measures such as temperature checks, the Beijing Times reported.

"A pretty move, for the love of God."

Eduardo Galeano

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