Chinese footballers will need to undergo the painful process of having tattoos removed or risk being snubbed by the national team following a new order banning the body work, Daily Mail reported.
The General Administration of Sport (GAS) has gone a step further than it did in 2018 when players were forced to cover up tattoos to continue playing.
In their latest move, GAS has outlawed tattoos altogether and wants any player with pre-existing tattoos to get them removed in order to ‘set a good example’ for the Chinese society, the report said.
“The national team and the U-23 national team athletes are strictly prohibited from having new tattoos, and those who already have tattoos are advised to remove them themselves,” the GAS statement said.
“If there are special circumstances agreed by the team, (players) must cover up the tattoos during training and matches,” it added.
China has previously waded into the appearance of its players with a women’s football match in 2018 called off after players were told that they were prohibited from playing with dyed hair, the report said.
Tattoos have been treated with disdain in China but their popularity has increased among young adults, including many footballers.
Zhang Linpeng of Guangzhou FC is one such player known throughout Chinese football for his extensive ink work.
But new rules look set to prove problematic for younger players with any fresh tattoos likely to result in expulsion from the national team, the report said.