In one of the more bizarre stories to come from East Asia this week, Tianjin Quanjian of the CSL will play an Asian Champions League home match in Macau.
Their match then against J League 1 side Kashima Antlers will take place on the 18th September at the 16,272-capacity Macau Olympic Complex Stadium.
The official reason given is that the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of the New Champions also referred to as the ‘Summer Davos’, will be taking place between the 18th and 20th September in Tianjin.
Then as the CSL side was unable to find a suitable stadium nearby, AFC rules state that the match must be played at a neutral venue.
Although the official reason and real reason for this change of venue could be two very different things. This is because of the sensitivity of the date the 18th September to China and Japan.
As the date marks the anniversary of the Japanese invasion of Manchuria (now known as Tianjin). This was when in 1931 the Japanese military blamed Chinese rebels for an explosion near the city of Shenyang and used it to justify a full-scale invasion of Manchuria, as the area was known at the time.
This seems like the more likely reason for the move and if this is the case as with most things Chinese football it doesn't even surprise you. The club insists moving the game more than 1180 miles and to another country will not affect their preparations.
As a club statement read “It is extremely regrettable that we could not play this crucial match in Tianjin, but we are deeply convinced that wherever we play, we will feel at home as long as we set foot on Chinese soil.” If Macau is on Chinese soil or not is a debate for another time and probably not one to be had on a football website.
This move will mean that Tianjin will need to travel the same distance for the 'home' leg as they did for the away leg in Japan. While they already face an uphill challenge as they trail 2-0 from the first leg.