Horrific it was not: Chinese football officials make Shanghai Shenhua’s Qin Sheng scapegoat in ludicrous attempt at justice

Midfielder banned for six months for a stamp on Tianjin Quanjian’s Belgium international Axel Witsel in the Super League earlier this month

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 March, 2017, 10:55am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 March, 2017, 10:57am

The ban handed out to Shanghai Shenhua midfielder Qin Sheng was descried by one media outlet as, wait for it, being “for a horrific stamping.” A stamp it was, horrific it was not.

Anyone who saw Qin’s ill-advised clash with Tianjin Quanjian’s Belgium international Axel Witsel in the Super League earlier this month would agree it deserved the red card he saw midway through the first half and some sort of punishment.

But when you consider Uruguayan striker Luiz Suarez was only given a four-month ban when he was found guilty of biting a player for a third time, a six-month ban for an act which if it occurred in Europe would have been dealt with by a spell on the sidelines for somewhere between three to six games, is absurd.

Anyone looking at the basic fact of a six-month ban, which will see Qin ineligible to play until two months before the end of the current season if Shenhua want the 30-year-old back at all, would expect something more serious.

In this case, Witsel was able to continue in the game and went on to net Tianjin’s late equaliser which earned Fabio Cannavaro’s side a 1-1 draw.

And if you compare the three-match European ban handed out to Tottenham Hotspur and England midfielder Dele Alli last week for his lunge on Gent’s Brecht Dejaegere in the Uefa Europa League, when the 20-year-old speared his right boot high into his opponents shin, you wonder what the Chinese Football Association (CFA) were thinking.

Wales defender Neil Taylor will surely face a ban for his tackle which broke the leg of Republic of Ireland captain Seamus Coleman in their World Cup qualifier last week, and no one will argue with that, but again the number of games will likely be counted on one hand.

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Announcing the ban a day after China’s win over South Korea in their Fifa World Cup qualifier, surely the CFA would have been better served building on the euphoria of victory, which has breathed life into the national game, rather than this attempt to show the watching world they mean business and gone are the days of corruption which previously blighted the game in China.

Let’s be honest, Qin has been made a scapegoat with officials worried the incident that occurred in a game, which was broadcast on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom, might show the Super League in a bad light.

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It might, and probably did for a short time, but the CFA have made things far worse with this ludicrous punishment for a player who had already been fined ¥300,000 (HK$337,000) by Shenhua, who also threatened to force the 30-year-old to see out the remainder of his contract in the reserves as the action drew widespread criticism.

The CFA also handed Qin an additional fine of ¥120,000 over the incident which was considered to have “caused very bad social influence.”

One question needs to be asked, if this incident had not involved a foreign player, or had not been broadcast to a global audience, would the punishment have been the same?

It was wrong, it has no place in the game, but neither has the CFA’s heavy handed attempt at justice.