Shanghai Shenhua teen Zhou Junchen gets 12-month ban after restaurant visit as Chinese football eats itself
Number of incidents on national team duty see officials throw the book at teenager, but social media users argue the punishment does not fit the crime
The Chinese Football Association has banned promising Shanghai Shenhua youngster Zhou Junchen for a year after a recent China under-19s camp.
Zhou, 18, has been declared ineligible for the national team and stopped from playing in any CFA competitions for 12 months after a list of charges.
These included a “negative attitude, sloppy behaviour, ignoring the coach and leaving camp for an unscheduled dinner with teammates”.
There has been no news on the punishment for the other players who went to the restaurant.
Reaction on Chinese social media has been mixed with some users pointing out that while he might deserve a ban from representing China, it is unforgivable for officials to stop him playing club football.
Some have called for a player union, citing that the Chinese FA is too powerful.
— Shanghai Shenhua FC (@shanghaishenhua) 17 September 2018
Reports suggest Shenhua were made aware they should not select Zhou for their Chinese Super League fixture against Jiangsu Suning, but the punishment was not announced until after the weekend, with the ban backdated to September 9.
He will not be able to play until September 8 next year, missing a vital period in his development.
Zhou made his debut for the first team this season, providing an assist for Demba Ba against Tianjin Teda in July. He has since featured six more times from the bench.
Zhou’s 12-month ban is the latest in a long line of harsh punishments handed out by the CFA for indiscretions.
19 year-old Zhou Junchen assisted Demba Ba’s goal in his debut for Shenhua pic.twitter.com/J6trxDJ9uY
— Shanghai Shenhua FC (@shanghaishenhua) 20 July 2018
Shanghai SIPG defender Wang Shenchao will miss the Asian Cup next January as part of his 12-month ban from the national team for wearing a necklace during a game.
Last season, his teammate Oscar was handed an eight-game ban for kicking the ball at opponents and starting a brawl, which led then-manager Andre Villas-Boas to get his own ban for a social media post questioning the original punishment.
Other bans have included giving a thumbs-up, while Shanghai Shenhua’s Qin Sheng was handed a six-month suspension for a stamp on Axel Witsel.
Clubs have also followed suit and fined their staff and players for minor indiscretions.