HONG KONG – Authorities in China have banned football players from getting tattoos and instructed national team players to remove or cover them up in order to set a “good example for society”.
A growing number of high-profile Chinese players have tattoos, including international defender Zhang Linpeng, who was previously told to cover up for both the national team and Guangzhou FC club when he appeared.
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The General Administration of Sport of China (GAS) said in a statement titled “Proposals to Strengthen the Management of Football Players” that the Chinese Football Association will establish disciplinary requirements for national team players.
“National teams at all levels will strictly implement the relevant requirements of the management measures … (and) fully demonstrate the positive spirit of Chinese football players and be a good example for society,” it said.
“The national team and the U23 national team athletes are strictly prohibited from wearing new tattoos and those who already have tattoos are advised to remove them themselves.
“If special circumstances have been agreed by the team, (players) must cover the tattoos during training and games.”
It also said that teams under 20 and under were “strictly prohibited” from recruiting players with tattoos.
The GAS added that national teams should organize “ideological and political education activities” that would strengthen “the patriotic education” of the players.
This would “increase a sense of mission, responsibility and honor, and create a national team that is capable of conquering and fighting well and has an excellent style of play,” she added.
China’s national team have not qualified for the World Cup finals since their debut in 2002 and are expected to miss Qatar in 2022.