Taiwan’s University football association to limit the number of foreigners

Restrictions on the number of foreigners playing in University teams 

The Taiwanese University Football Association had a meeting and have decided to restrict the number of foreigners each university side throughout the country is now allowed to have in their squad. They intend to set the limit to 5 foreigners per team, meaning a lot of guys already playing in teams will have to be booted out of their sides because of these rules. 

For the university sports association to make a rule that blocks students from participating in sports seems to be extremely moronic, surely the university sports association should be the type of organization that should be promoting sports not telling students they cannot play. 

A lot of students are invited to Taiwan, why should they be blocked from playing sports based on where they’re from? 

Taiwan invites a lot of students to study here, and for the large majority, the stay is highly positive. A lot of students go home with a very positive view of their time living and studying in this country. Now with the universities making a move that blocks students from playing football, will that view change for some students? Maybe it will, maybe it will not, but it goes without saying a lot of students arriving around the year do look for sports teams and organizations to join. 

Those students who come to Taiwan expecting to attend tryouts to join their school sports teams will be very annoyed if they get told you cannot join on the basis you’re not Taiwanese. Taiwan likes to pride itself on being very open and democratic but every now and then you do hear about these odd decisions and wonder what they are based on. These students who try to join sports teams will automatically be given a negative experience from day one. 

Why would this rule even be implemented for students? 

So why would the student sports association even implement a rule like this? It has been suggested that it could be because more Taiwanese want to play. If more Taiwanese want to play football that is great, but why should that stop non-Taiwanese being allowed to play? Just because more want to play you don’t have to stop others do you? It is possible that everyone can get playing time who wants it at student level is it not? That depends on the school's outlook I guess, are they a win at all costs school or do they care about raising participation levels? 

Well obviously sport participation levels aren’t on the agenda because people involved in sports love making it some kind of special VIP shit so booting people out is the name of the game. There is no reason why the managers of the team can’t allow Taiwanese to get more playing time if they want to, that isn’t for a league to decide it’s for each team to manage on their own. 

The real reason why – in my opinion

In my opinion, the real reason is that a lot of Taiwanese football players are at a weaker level than the African, European and South American students who come to study in Taiwan. This is just an observation it isn’t intended as a criticism, but there is sound logic to me saying this. 

People in Africa, Europe and South America have been playing football for a long time, a lot longer than Taiwanese kids. A lot of kids from African, European or South American countries have grown up all their life watching and playing football from a very early age, therefore the skill level of these players is better than Taiwanese players. In these other parts of the world, kids start playing earlier, and they start playing competitively earlier than players do in Taiwan. Another issue is football is a relatively new sport for Taiwanese people, with a lot of people still becoming interested as time goes by, therefore they lack the football knowledge and competitive games from an early age similar to what the foreign students that arrive have experienced. 

So in general speaking terms; the foreign students who go looking for their school football club to join often have a much higher level than the local Taiwanese players, therefore they outperform them – not always but on most occasions, the foreign players will be some of the team’s best players. 

In Taiwan, it is considered really bad to lose face, and if your school team is being hammered by a team full with foreigners then this doesn’t look good on the Taiwanese and they have lost face. Losing face is a terrible thing for Taiwanese people, and this loss of face is what I think is the real reason behind this kind of decision. They want to stop that potentially lost face from happening, and what is the easiest way of doing this; block the foreign players from being able to play, at least in vast numbers where they will be restricted and therefore giving the sides full with Taiwanese players more chance of a) winning and b) not losing face. Losing face invades every aspect of Taiwanese society and amazingly is considered for a lot of decisions made regarding all strands of living life in Taiwan. 

This won’t affect a major amount of foreign students but at the same time it’s one of those small things that will make a few say, “Taiwan was rubbish, I wasn’t able to play sports because I am not Taiwanese.” Then a few more will hear when they go home and think, let’s apply to go somewhere else where I can still play footy. For a handful of people these kinds of things matter, but it is likely not a high enough number for the Taiwanese university sports association to care, their thinking will be if we do this, and foreign exchange students still come here to study what is the issue. 

Old cronies in charge of sports 

There are old cronies in charge of all sports associations in Taiwan and they don’t care about developing sports but their own self-indulgence.  I don’t know personally what they get out of it and have no proof or evidence other than my own wonderings of what the hell happens to the budgets they get to promote and develop the sport. This makes me think the skimming of the funds is an absolutely glorious position for these folk in charge of sports associations. 

Make no doubt about it, the school sports association gets funding from someone, the Taiwanese football association gets funding from someone, other sports associations get funding. The funding is definitely supposed to be used for promoting, developing and implementing sports including, access to sports, participation in sports, developing facilities that the public can use (that last bit is crucial because in Taiwan it’s so often hijacked by someone and locked off to public / or some blokes come in trucks threatening to beat you with bats).

Where does the money go that is intended for this? Most facilities are unable to be used unless you pay a fortune to some crook that claims they ‘own’ the pitch, or it’s locked off completely. Make no doubt about it, these people in charge of sports associations in Taiwan are doing nothing with the money for a reason and most of you can put two and two together and figure out why. Let’s just say, it pays very well in Taiwan to be in charge of a sports association.
The Taiwanese public is a big part of the problem

Taiwanese people know that sports associations are crooked. They know they are doing all sorts of shady stuff behind the scenes to suit the benefits of their own needs, but they won’t do or say anything about it because they are told constantly to not make a fuss, and not cause any trouble.

Then the association will blow some hot air out in the news about how they’re going to make stadiums, make a pro league and this or that or the other. Their suggestions are nothing more than a fallacy, for example, if Taiwan ever gets a professional league while I am still alive, I will personally go to the top of Taipei 101, get my arse out and stick in the fence and wiggle it for the whole of Taipei to see. That’s how confident I am that the football association will never get a professional league. 

If there were these many issues in other countries around the world, the people in charge would be facing the sack and people would be in an uproar. Not in Taiwan, you get told don’t make a fuss, don’t cause trouble…too much ma fan (trouble) is bad. Therefore Taiwanese people are as much to blame as the people doing the shady stuff. If people were less accepting of the stuff going on, then they wouldn’t be able to get away with what they are doing in my opinion. 

People are interested in sports in Taiwan, people would like to play. Make your voice heard and do something about it instead of saying don’t cause trouble, don’t make a fuss. Get people in charge of your sports associations who are willing to try and improve the athletes, develop the leagues, develop facilities etc etc. Taiwan has potential! Start to realise it!  

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