Chinese Football Association (CFA)

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

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 March, 2018, 10:53am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 March, 2018, 10:51pm

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.

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.

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 ?

Fans and media slam the China national team after capitulation against Wales in Nanning

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.

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.