RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT
VIDEO SHOWS: VARIOUS OF SHANGHAI SHENHUA FANS GATHERING AT A HOTEL TO WATCH FIRST MATCH OF CHINESE SUPER LEAGUE SEASON, SOUNDBITES FROM SHANGHAI SHENHUA FANS
SHOWS: SHANGHAI, CHINA (JULY 25, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
1. FANS OF SHANGHAI SHENHUA SEATED AT TABLE WATCHING FIRST MATCH OF THE 2020 CHINESE SUPER LEAGUE SEASON
2. FANS SHOUTING
3. FANS WATCHING MATCH
4. FANS TALKING WHILE WATCHING MATCH
5. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) SHANGHAI SHENHUA FAN, LIU CHAO, SAYING:
"I haven't watched any Shenhua match for more than seven months since the team won the FA Cup in 2019. I'm very excited, and I hope Shenhua will win today. Shenhua are always the champions in my mind."
6. VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WATCHING MATCH
7. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) SHANGHAI SHENHUA FAN, WHO IS NOT WILLING TO BE IDENTIFIED, SAYING:
"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have this event here. It provides our fans a place to watch the match and the atmosphere is very good. It gives us a chance to get together today to watch the Shenhua's match."
8. PEOPLE WATCHING MATCH
9. WOMAN WATCHING MATCH
10. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) SHANGHAI SHENHUA FAN, ZHEN (DID NOT PROVIDE FIRST NAME), SAYING:
"Before we used to watch match on site (at the stadium), but now more people are watching it indoors. The atmosphere is different."
11. SHANGHAI SHENHUA EVENT POSTER
12. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) SHANGHAI SHENHUA FAN, LU (DID NOT PROVIDE FIRST NAME), SAYING:
"Maybe because it's the first match of this year's (CSL season). The cooperation between the players is a little rusty."
13. CARDBOARD CUTOUTS OF SHANGHAI SHENHUA PLAYERS
STORY: Shanghai Shenhua fans gathered in a hotel on Saturday (July 25) to support their team as the 2020 Chinese Super League (CSL) season finally kicked off after a five-month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The league was originally scheduled to start on Feb. 22 but was postponed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 83,700 people in mainland China and left authorities cautious about resuming professional sport.
"I haven't watched any Shenhua match for more than seven months since the team winning the FA Cup in 2019. I'm very excited," said Ma Chao at a hotel in Shanghai where about 200 Shenhua fans gathered to watch the first match between reigning champions Guangzhou Evergrande and FA Cup winners Shanghai Shenhua.
Instead of the traditional home-and-away system, the 16 CSL teams will play a round robin in two groups with the top four from each qualifying for an eight-team "championship" stage and the remaining eight going into a "relegation" phase.
All the first-phase matches, beginning on Saturday and ending on Sept 28, will be played behind closed doors.
Shanghai Shenhua lost to Guangzhou Evergrande 0-2 in the season opener.
A total of 1,870 individuals from the tournament's two hubs - Suzhou near Shanghai and Dalian in the northeast of China - have undergone medical checks, with none of them testing positive for the virus, according to state news agency Xinhua.
Players and officials will be confined to their hotels and parts of the stadiums, and tests will be conducted once a week during the competition, which will have 112 matches over 14 rounds during the first stage.
(Production: Aly Song, Irene Wang)