Chinese footballers banned from sporting tattoos to 'set good example for society'

Recruitment of players with tattoos to be prohibited for teams at Under-20 level and below

China's Zhang Linpeng during a World Cup 2022 qualifier against Australia in Sharjah on November 16, 2021. AP
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China's national team footballers have been barred from getting tattoos, with those already having them asked to have them removed or covered.

Many top Chinese players, including international defender Zhang Linpeng, have sported tattoos and have previously been told to cover up while appearing for the national team and club sides.

In a statement, the China Sports Administration said that players in the national team "are strictly prohibited from having new tattoos".

"Those who have tattoos are advised to have them removed," the statement said. "In special circumstances, the tattoos must be covered during training and competition, with the consent of the rest of the team.

"National teams at all levels will strictly implement the relevant requirements of the management measures ... and fully demonstrate the positive spirit of Chinese football players and set a good example for society," the statement said.

It also said that recruitment of players with tattoos was "strictly prohibited" for teams at Under-20 level and below .

The GAS added that national teams should organise "ideological and political education activities" that would "strengthen the patriotic education" of players.

Last year, a women's university football match was called off after players were told they were not allowed to have dyed hair.

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Updated: December 30, 2021, 2:47 PM