QPR suspend assistant Hill over brawl with Chinese

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The Independent Football

Queen's Park Rangers yesterday suspended their assistant manager Richard Hill "until further notice" following the brawl during last week's friendly against the China Under-23 team.

The Chinese player Zheng Tao suffered a broken jaw during the incident, which is being investigated by the Football Association, which is "in ongoing communication with the police". Seven members of China's team were sent home early.

A statement released to the club's website read: "Following the incident at the training ground on 7 February, and the subsequent police investigation of the matter, QPR have suspended assistant manager Richard Hill from his duties until further notice."

Meanwhile, police said that a 43-year-old man was arrested on 10 February "on suspicion of ABH (actual bodily harm). He was later bailed to return to a west London police station pending further enquiries".

The Metropolitan Police statement continued: "Hillingdon Police are continuing to investigate a number of assaults following a disturbance amongst players at a match between QPR and the Chinese Olympic team.

"On arrival, police discovered a 21-year-old man suffering facial injuries. He was conveyed to Hillingdon Hospital where he was treated for a broken jaw. He was later discharged. Subsequent investigation has found a further two males suffering injuries. One with injuries amounting to ABH, the other suffering a fractured eye socket.

"All parties from both QPR and the Chinese team are assisting police."

QPR chairman Gianni Paladini said last week there was "no place for violence" and that his club would work "24 hours a day" to find out what happened.

An FA spokesman said: "We are in close communication with the police, and we are awaiting confirmation of whether or not they will be taking any action. We will then consider whether to take any disciplinary action of our own."

The China team arrived in England at the invitation of Chelsea who are trying to get a foothold in the lucrative Chinese market and announced yesterday they will tour the country next year.

"As part of our commitment to developing football in China, Chelsea will be touring in China in 2008," said Paul Smith, business affairs director at Stamford Bridge. "We will be taking our first team and playing games on the mainland."

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