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The General Administration of Sports of China published a series of guidelines on Tuesday to “strengthen the management of soccer players,” among which is the prohibition of members of the national team to get new tattoos, picks up today the local newspaper The Paper.
The guidelines aim to make footballers “positive examples for society” and recommend that those who already have tattoos erase them., in addition to prohibiting the U-20 and lower teams from summoning players with tattooed bodies.
It is not the first time that tattoos have caused controversy in Chinese football: at the China Cup in 2018, many players had to cover their tattoos with bandages.
In official photographs of the components of the Chinese team, Tattoos like those on the arms of Chinese players such as Zhang Xizhe or Zhang Linpeng have been erased with image retouching programs on some occasions.
The Administration also added in its guidelines the organization of “ideological and political education” activities in the national teams to reinforce the “patriotic education” of the players.
The Chinese soccer team reaped a new failure this year, having virtually no chance of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, in a poor performance that led to the resignation of their coach, Li Tie.
China has not qualified for a World Cup since the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, for which it did not have to face local powers South Korea and Japan.
Despite government efforts to raise the country’s soccer level, the national team continues to reap poor results and harsh criticism from fans, which is why some Internet users on the Weibo social network criticized the tattoo ban: “They do not take charge of what they should take charge, they do insignificant things to show that they are doing something,” commented one user.