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West Brom owner Guochuan Lai missing play-off games

By Matt Wilson | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

Albion’s absent owner Guochuan Lai will not be attending the play-off double-header with rivals Villa – although chairman Li Piyue will be at both games.

Guochuan Lai is a rare visitor to The Hawthorns. (AMA)

Lai, who is based in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, has been a rare visitor to The Hawthorns since his £200million takeover almost three years ago.

He attended a few games each year in the Premier League but has only been to one fixture this season, a 1-1 home draw with Brentford in December.

And even though the Baggies are gearing up for arguably two of the biggest matches of his ownership, he will not be in attendance.

It's unknown if Villa's owners Nassef Sawiris or Wes Edens will be attending the games or not.

Unlike Lai, who has not invested any money into Albion since his takeover, Villa's owners have pumped £68m into the club since theirs last summer.

However, Albion chairman Li will be at both games, accompanied by a delegation of guests from China.

Li has been Lai’s representative on the board since the takeover, and was promoted to chairman last summer following relegation.

The promotion was largely symbolic, and represented Lai’s desire to have more control over matters after a disastrous campaign.

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Li is based in Sweden, and does not normally attend matches, but will be at both games against Villa.

Director Ke Xu, who is known as Ken, is Lai’s business associate based permanently in England who attends all games.

However, chief executive Mark Jenkins and technical director Luke Dowling are the two main decision-makers in England.

They are planning to make an ‘excessive punishment’ appeal to the Football Association against Hal Robson-Kanu’s red card.

Although the Baggies are not appealing the sending off itself, they believe the automatic three-match ban is too severe, and hope it is reduced by one or two games.

Robson-Kanu was shown a straight red for flicking a boot backwards into Derby midfielder Bradley Johnson, ruling him out of the play-offs.

Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson
Football MMPJ - @mattwilson_star

Sports reporter at the Express & Star, who primarily covers West Bromwich Albion.

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