Beijing – Chinese national team soccer players must remove all existing tattoos and are “strictly prohibited” from getting new ones, the country’s sports administration body said.
The sport has found itself in the crosshairs of the Communist Party’s purity campaign in recent years, and players on the national football team routinely cover their arms with long sleeves or bandages to hide their tattoos.
But the statement from the Chinese Sports Administration, dated Tuesday, said that national team players are strictly prohibited from getting new tattoos.
“Those who have tattoos are advised to have them removed,” the statement continued. “In special circumstances tattoos should be covered during training and competition, with the consent of the rest of the team.”
He went on to say that it was “strictly forbidden” for national teams under-20s and even younger ones to recruit people with tattoos.
But not all fans seemed to be behind the new rules.
âDo we choose a good footballer or a saint? An angry fan asked on the Weibo social media platform.
“Are we just going to say bluntly that only Party members can play football?” Another asked.
Body ink has traditionally been frowned upon in China, but it is increasingly popular among young adults, even though authorities express their contempt for it.
The Chinese Football Association has ordered national team players to cover themselves with tattoos in recent years and has sent young footballers to military camps for Marxist-style drills and “thought education”.
This prompted fans to complain that he thinks more of politics than sports.
Last year, a women’s college football game was finally called off after the players were told they were not allowed to dye their hair.
President Xi Jinping wants China to host and even win the World Cup one day.
But they are fifth of six teams in their qualifying group for next year’s World Cup, with only the top two guaranteed to qualify.
This year, Beijing also imposed a series of restrictions on youth culture, including sweeping measures to ban “the abnormal aesthetics” and crack down on perceived excesses of modern entertainment.
He made an example of movie stars going overboard, banned reality shows and ordered broadcasters to stop portraying “sissy” men and “vulgar influencers.”
As tensions with the West mounted, China also pushed a nationalist and militaristic narrative at home, including a vision of harsh masculinity.
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