China bans players from getting tattoos on the national team

31 Dec 2021 | 05:27 | Football

The General Administration of Sports of China (GAS) banned players with tattoos from wearing team jerseys and urged those who have tattoos to remove themselves.

The GAS regulation aims to create a “social mirror” from Chinese players. Besides the national team, the Chinese U20 and U23 teams do not accept players with tattoos.
In 2018, GAS issued a rule that required players to cover their tattoos while playing. “The team forbids players from adding new tattoos. Those who have accidentally tattooed should remove them by themselves. In special cases, they must cover tattoos when training and playing,” the announcement of GAS stated.

The Chinese team has many tattooed stars. Defender Zhang Linpeng has tattoos on both arms, next to the tattoos on his neck. Midfielder Zhang Xizhe also often wears ao dai to cover the tattoos on his arms.

Three years ago, the Chinese Football Association issued an unwritten rule that required players to cover their tattoos while playing. They also don’t want the female players to dye their hair. “Women players must not dye their hair offensively, male players must not have long hair or strange hairstyles,” the South China Morning Post daily quoted a regulation of the Fujian Provincial Education Department.

In addition to managing the appearance of players, GAS also recommends that players of all age groups attend political and ideological education activities to strengthen patriotism.

Chinese newspaper Sina said that regulations governing player tattoos were outdated, and that China’s failure to attend the World Cup since 2002 was purely due to professional problems. “If Messi was Chinese, he wouldn’t be called up to the national team,” commented Sina.

China reached the third qualifying round of the 2022 World Cup in Asia but got off to a bad start. After six matches in Group B, they only won against Vietnam, earning 5 points and standing penultimate with six points less than the third team Australia.