China has banned footballers who play for the country’s national team from getting tattoos – with those already inked told to get them removed or cover them up to set a “good example for society”.
Zhang Linpeng, a defender for the Chinese national team, is one of a growing number of high profile players in the country who have been sporting tattoos.
Lingpeng has previously been told to cover up while appearing for both the national team and club side Guangzhou FC.
The General Administration of Sport of China (GAS) has said in a statement that the Chinese Football Association will set out disciplinary requirements for national team players.
The statement read: “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 national team and the U23 national team athletes are strictly prohibited from having new tattoos, and those who already have tattoos are advised to remove them themselves.
“If there are special circumstances agreed by the team, (players) must cover up the tattoos during training and matches.”
It also said that for teams at Under-20 level and below the recruitment of players with tattoos was “strictly prohibited”.
The GAS added that national teams should organise “ideological and political education activities” that would “strengthen the patriotic education” of players.
Doing so would “enhance the sense of mission, responsibility and honour, and create a national team capable of conquering and fighting well and with excellent style of play”, it added.
China’s national team failed to qualify for the World Cup finals since making their debut appearance in 2002 and look set to miss out on Qatar 2022.