The Case of Fan Zhiyi

Fan Zhiyi (范志毅) is a renowned Chinese soccer player who once captained the Chinese national team as well as the Asian All-Stars.  Presently, Fan Zhiyi is the trainer of a professional soccer team based in Suzhou.  Recently, there has been a series of photographs posted on the BBS's of various major portals.  The location was alleged to be the Qupushi (趣普仕) club training facility in Suzhou.  The series of photographs showed that some footballers apparently assaulting a groundskeeper.  The accompanying text described how a man who resembled Fan Zhiyi "charged over and kicked the old man in the belly.  The old man clutched his belly and screamed.  The other individuals around did not attempt to hold Fan Zhiyi, who continued to beat the old man while cursing.  He also whipped the old man's eyes with the string on his whistle.  The man clutched his eyes and cried."

In this photograph, Fan Zhiyi is allegedly the man
being held back by another dressed in red

According to this Sohu sports report based upon an 'informed source':

This incident occurred on August 10 with the team led by Fan Zhiyi.  The time was around 4pm and Fan Zhiyi was leading his team on training.  The scheduled training time has passed, and the stadium worker asked the team to leave in order to water the playing field.  The Qupushi team is the home team and wanted to spend a little more time.  This was a reasonable request, but the worker refused sternly and began to turn on the spray.  A few players got their clothes wet, and so they charged at him and assaulted him.

Alright, but what do the principals have to say for themselves?

(Sohu)  The groundskeeper Xu Zhifeng (徐志峰), who is a middle-aged person (and not an old man)

At 420pm on August 10, Fan Zhiyi brought his players to rest on the running track.  We thought that the training session was over, and we prepared to turn on the water the playing field.  My colleague went outside to turn on the automatic sprays.  As soon as that occurred, Fan Zhiyi roared at me, 'We haven't finished training.  Why did you turn on the water?'  When I heard that, I explained what happened and I was ready to turn off the water.

But Fan Zhiyi began to whip my head with the string on the whistle while cursing, 'Mother's c*unt, I'm going to beat you up.  Don't you see that we are still training?'  As he cursed, he continued to kick me.  Two other team members came to join and beat me.  I was lying on the ground, but they did not quit.  They kicked me several times in the hip and legs.  At the time, I was crying.  I have never been so humiliated in my entire life.  When they were beating me, they kept cursing me and I kept begging for mercy.  I called for help, but none of the team members minded me.  After the beating, I laid on the ground.  My body hurt so much that I could not move.  My colleague eventually helped me to get up.

After the beating, I stayed in bed for one day and one night because my body was hurting all over.  I did not have the money to go to the hospital, so I just bought some ointment to rub on myself.  I am terrified when I see him again, because I am afraid that he will beat me up again.

The incident occurred more than one month ago.  The Qupushi club has given no explanation or compensation.

(Sohu)  Fan Zhiyi

When Fan Zhiyi was contacted, he said that he had read the news on the Internet.  "I did not hit anyone.  I just went over to mediate.  Someone is distorting the facts," said Fan Zhiyi angrily.  "On that afternoon, we were training.  Shortly afterwards, the groundskeeper said that the grass was too dry and wanted to turn on the water.  After we argued for a few sentences, the groundskeeper turned on the water anyway.  At that time, a worker from our club began to tussle with the groundskeeper.  Several team members also approached them.  At the time, I was on the other side of the field and I raced over.  I lectured both sides, but it has now become a case of me assaulting people."

P.S. Fan Zhiyi has apologized since then without admitting that he assaulted the groundskeeper.

Who can you believe?  Well, it is time to show the photographs (with the translated annotations from original poster):

At 420pm, the Qupushi players trained by Fan Zhiyi
began to assault the old man

The old man was kicked to the ground by the player
in the neon green vest.  Fan Zhiyi is coming into the
picture from above.

Two other players are helping to stomp on the old man
on the ground.  Fan Zhiyi is rushing to help them.

As soon as Fan Zhiyi aggived, he kicked the old
man in the belly.

The others did not pull him back.  Only Li Ping (in red)
attempted to mediate!

As Fan Zhiyi stomped and cursed, nobody could
believe this is our Mr. Football in Asia!  The
captain of the Chinese national team!

Fan Zhiyi used the string on his whistle to lash at
the old man's eyes!  The old man clutched his
eyes and cried!  This piece of trash is Mr. Football in Asia! 
What hope is there for Chinese football!

Mr. Football of Asia leaves after finishing the beating.

The old man is left rolling on the ground.  What
could he do except to groan?

He is holding his belly with tears in this eyes!

What else could he do?  He was beaten at close
range for twenty minutes!  No supervisor came over!
They must be really busy!

The quality of the players is as uniform as their clothing.

Maybe he was afraid of the exposure, but Mr. Football
of Asia left first and stopped the training.

The whole team left after him.

Leaving the broken old man alone in tears!

It turns out you don't have to be held responsible
if you are a big star!

Who did the old man offend?  Are people equal?

Half an hour later, his wife came to comfort him.

Getting his injured body out.

He is still rubbing his belly.  After all, those were
studded football shoes.

The playing field is quiet again.  Who'd have known
that something happened earlier?

This series of photographs is ambiguous to the extent that they are a series of snapshots and not a continuous video clip.  One must infer what happened between consecutive photographs.

Notwithstanding the ambiguity of the physical evidence, let us remember that this is the age of the Internet, in which the netizens serve as judge and jury.  Here are the results from the Sohu online poll.  As is typical, the options for the possible answers are somewhat funny.

Q1: Do you believe that the attacker was Fan Zhiyi?
89.1% (it is him alright -- I can recognize even if he was burnt to ashes)
9.8% (hard to tell, because the photographs are fuzzy; you should not judge him just because he has a lousy record in the past)
1.1% (it is not him -- this is a deliberate attempt to smear Chinese football)

Q2: Why did Fan Zhiyi physically assault the person?
76.6% (no particular reason; he is just in the habit of beating people up)
16.3%: (he is still upset at losing the title of the meanest football player in Asia)
7.2%: (the groundskeeper was of low-quality and offended our great General Fan)

Q3: Why are there so many scandals in Chinese football?
97.4% (the players are of poor quality and lack supervision)
1.5% (the fans demand too much from the players, which cause the players to become psychologically deformed)
1.1% (the players are under tremendous pressure at work with nowhere to release the tension)