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Chinese Super League

Shanghai Shenhua threaten to bar Qin Sheng from exit after Axel Witsel stamp

President says midfielder ‘not for sale’ and threatens to force 30-year-old to rot in reserves for rest of contract following incident in Chinese Super League draw

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 March, 2017, 2:07pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 March, 2017, 9:36pm

Shanghai Shenhua have threatened to let Qin Sheng rot in the reserves for the remaining four years of his contract after the China international’s stamp on Axel Witsel at the weekend.

“We will not let someone, who hurt the club’s image and benefits, to leave the club and seek for personal benefits elsewhere,” said Shenhua president Wu Xiaohui, who added the midfielder is “not for sale”.

Qin was sent off for deliberately stamping on Witsel in the 24th minute of Shenhua’s fiery 1-1 Chinese Super League draw with Tianjin Quanjian on Saturday.

Just hours after the match, the club announced he had been fined RMB300,000 (HK$336,000) and relegated to the reserves, and also threatened to withhold his salary for the rest of the season.

“I made the announcements because this incident badly hurt the feelings of the club’s management team, the coaches, the players and our fans,” Wu added.

“You either show your sincerity and apologise with real actions, or just give an end to your career.”

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Qin apologised for his “vulgar” actions on his personal Weibo account after the match, and also said sorry to his teammates during Monday’s meeting at their training base.

The Chinese Football Association has yet to announce its punishments against Qin, but he likely faces a three-game ban.

“The first [option] is to correct yourself and make a fresh start,” Wu added of Qin. “Come back to the [first] team with a new attitude and complete the four-year contract.

“The second is to laze away in the secondary team for the next four years and then leave the team at the age of 35.

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“The other choice will enable you leave the team proudly, which is to work hard and help Shenhua win a championship. After that, you can raise a transfer request.”

Shenhua’s initial statement at the weekend said Qin may avoid a pay cut if he shows good behaviour, but said the player will only be afforded a basic living allowance in the meantime.

Chinese media estimates Qin’s annual salary at RMB5 million (HK$5.6m), while his new star Shenhua teammate Carlos Tevez is reported to earn a similar amount per week, according to media in the striker’s native Argentina.

“The extremely irrational behaviour of Qin Sheng has severely tarnished the image of this club, the football of Shanghai and even Chinese football,” Wu said at the weekend. “All the efforts made by others have gone down the drain because of him.

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“Given Qin Sheng was shown a yellow card in the season opener, we intentionally warned him over his poor on-field behaviour before the game. However, our repeated warnings have not prevented this happening.

“I don’t think he was just caught up in the heat of the moment. Instead, it’s a flagrant violation of the club management.”