Tatt’s your lot: Chinese Football Association bans players from showing their ink during matches
Reports emerge after Wales game where the Chinese team’s body art was crudely covered with tape; foreign players are exempt – for now
Reports have emerged that the Chinese Football Association has moved to curb the trend of players getting tattoos by banning them from exhibiting their skin art while playing.
The news, reported by Chinese media on Sunday, followed on from the China Cup opener last Friday where national team players such as Zhang Lingpeng were covered with tape in order to obscure their tattoos.
This will be applied in the Chinese Super League and for national team matches, and it is suggested that players may lose their place in the team if they fail to toe the line.
The CFA is stepping up the fight against the tattoos: the journalist Ye Mingrui claims that the CFA has informed all clubs in China about the tattoos ban. The clubs will ask the players to solve this issue on their own, and players with tattoos might not be allowed to play. pic.twitter.com/ac2C5r6vSk
— Roy Tadmor (@RoyTLuo) March 25, 2018
Speculation has arisen whether this will be followed in other sports such as the Chinese Basketball Association, while musicians have already been banned from TV on account of their tattoos or told to cover up.
Much like in the West, tattoos have become more mainstream in recent years and it is not unusual for younger sportsmen to have a similar amount of ink as their counterparts overseas.
As ever, Chinese social media has reacted with memes mocking the new diktat.
UPDATE: It is suggested that the tattoo ban has already been conveyed to all CSL clubs. Players with uncovered tattoos might be banned from appearing. Interestingly, foreigners seem for now exempted from this regulation. Lots of memes in the making. HT @zhaoxo pic.twitter.com/Lt2GW2JWkq
— Tobias Zuser (@duwenzhe) March 25, 2018
The ban – and the need to cover up – poses several questions for the players involved: will they be expected to get their tattoos removed? If they don’t will it finally lead to the first notable exodus of Chinese players from the domestic league so they can find game time? Is this an issue for Fifa to intervene in ?
Foreigners are said to be exempt from the ban for now but if that changes it will certainly affect the number of star players coaxed to the CSL.
Plenty of anger amongst Chinese fans with the new policy regarding tattoos (players were forced to cover them up & some like Zhang Linpeng were said to be dropped because of their tattoos), as once again its a way to divert attention from the important issue pic.twitter.com/0MOgj43vni
— modernleifeng (@modernleifeng) March 26, 2018
Barcelona’s Leo Messi has got more tattoos in recent years while Neymar Jnr is also a fan and they head a long list including Roma’s Radja Nainngolan, who was linked to Guangzhou Evergrande in the most recent transfer window.
The most famous tattooed footballer, former Real Madrid and Manchester United man David Beckham, was appointed as ambassador for the CFA in 2013.
Times are apparently changing.