Chinese Super League

Shanghai Shenhua midfielder Qin Sheng handed six-month ban for Axel Witsel stamp

Chinese Football Association punish 30-year-old who had already been fined ¥300,000 (HK$336,780) and forced to train with the reserves after being sent-off against Tianjin Quanjian in the Chinese Super League earlier this month

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 March, 2017, 5:32pm
UPDATED : Friday, 24 March, 2017, 5:44pm

Shanghai Shenhua midfielder Qin Sheng has been slapped with a six-month ban by the Chinese Football Association following his highly criticised stamp on Tianjin Quanjian’s Belgium international Axel Witsel in the Super League earlier this month.

Qin was shown a straight red card midway through the first half of Shenhua’s second match of the 2017 season on March 11 after blatantly treading on the foot of Tianjin’s new signing as they jostled for position inside the penalty area while waiting for a corner.

The former Jiangsu Suning, Guangzhou Evergrande and Liaoning Whowin midfielder had already been fined ¥300,000 (HK$336,780) 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.

Qin will now be ineligible to play in the Super League until September 12, which is less than two months before the end of the session, while he has also been handed an additional fine of ¥120,000 over the incident which was viewed as to have “caused very bad social influence.”

Witsel went onto net an 85th-minute equaliser to earn Fabio Cannavaro’s side a 1-1 draw after Giovanni Moreno had opened the scoring for Shenhua with 15 minutes remaining.

Tianjin almost snatched all three points only for Brazilian striker Alexandre Pato to miss a penalty with two minutes remaining at Hongkou Stadium.

Stamp on Tianjin Quanjian’s Axel Witsel by Shanghai Shenhua’s Qin Sheng casts shadow over Chinese Super League

Qin admitted after the match he was seeking “revenge” with the stamp, and said that he “will take this lesson and never do it again, and as a man, I will take all the responsibility by myself.”

The draw allowed Shenhua to extend their unbeaten start to the new season after beating Jiangsu Suning 4-0 in their season opener, while it was Tianjin’s first point of the new season.

Shenhua teammate Sun Shilin has also been charged by the Chinese Football Association (CFA), with the midfielder handed a two-match ban and a fine of Ұ10,000 after taunting Pato after the Brazilian missed from the penalty spot as the incident also “caused bad social influence.”

And both incidents also saw Shenhua warned by the CFA for failing to educate and control their players to severely damage the image of Chinese football with the game being broadcast live around the world, including on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom.

Guangzhou Evergrande’s Luiz Felipe Scolari slams Zheng Zhi ban claiming officials favour CSL rivals Shanghai SIPG

Guangzhou Evergrande coach Luiz Felipe Scolari also found himself in hot water with officials, with the Brazilian handed a one-game stadium ban and a fine of ¥8,000 for comments made after the defending champions lost 2-1 to Shandong Luneng earlier this month.

Scolari seemed to claim decision to ban captain Zheng Zhi for an additional game following his sending off in the win over Beijing Guoan was motivated as officials favoured rivals Shanghai SIPG.

Former AFC Player of the Year Zheng was sent off in the closing stages Guangzhou’s win over Beijing as six-time defending champions opened the 2017 season with a 2-1 home win.

Zheng was shown a seemingly legitimate second yellow card with nine minutes remaining at Tianhe Stadium for pulling back Turkish striker Burak Yilmaz, and after arguing with referee Hei Xiaohu on the pitch, did not immediately leave the touchline.

Shanghai SIPG ‘can’t get carried away’ despite perfect start, says China midfielder Cai Huikang

The ban meant Zheng missed the away defeat against Shandong, but will also crucially miss the showdown with SIPG next month when the Super League resumes after the international break.

Zheng’s total suspension matched the one dished out to Beijing’s Zhao Hejing for a horrific lunge on Guangzhou’s Gao Lin.

Watch: Shandong Luneng 2 Guangzhou Evergrande 1 highlights

“Our captain is also the captain of the national team and his absence will be a huge loss for every team, but we didn’t lose due to his absence,” said Scolari after the defeat by Shandong.

“I will add this, the result of his punishment came out today and he will be suspended for one more game. What I want to say is someone [Zhao] made a tackle which could have severely hurt a player [Gao] and he is suspended for two games, and another player [Zheng] only lingered for a while on the bench and he got the same punishment.

International break offers chance to take CSL stock

“Should we accept that decision? We all know why there is a verdict like that, but that is what we have to face. Zheng Zhi felt uncomfortable when he was off and he was having the ice compress on the bench and now he got the same punishment as someone who could have buried Gao Lin’s career.

“Maybe we should think about who we will play next game and when you look at our opponent you will know why we got such a punishment.”

Watch: Guangzhou Evergrande 2 Beijing Guoan 1 highlights