Some countries in the world are skeptical about tattoos among footballers. The Iranian federation banned Sardar Azmoun (now Bayer Leverkusen) and Ashkan Dejagah (Foolad FC) from playing for the national team due to having tattoos at the end of 2021. Equally high skepticism appeared in China, where the Chinese Communist Party does not accept tattoos among football players. “This is not happening,” wrote Zhang Linpeng of Guangzhou FC last December when such a ban hit the Chinese league.
Authorities in China prohibit tattoos among footballers. “Good example for society”
China’s General Sports Administration has issued a new directive aimed primarily at Chinese soccer players with tattoos. The organization insists that players do not get new tattoos and remove existing tattoos. “In special circumstances, tattoos must be covered during training and matches, with the approval of the rest of the team. This move could set a good example for society,” the statement said.
The BBC notes that the Chinese government is tightening regulations from mid-2018 to not show tattoos on screen. Since then, some contestants have covered their arms with long sleeves so that their tattoos are not visible. Where did these actions come from? Tattoos are associated with criminal groups operating in East Asia, and among ethnic groups they are considered uncivilized. Tattoos are popular among young people in China, which is opposed by the Chinese Communist Party, which is ruling the country.
The General Administration of Sport forbids bringing new players to clubs and national teams that have tattoos. Interestingly, one of the women’s games was canceled last December after the players were informed that they must not have dyed hair. “Athletes at all stages cannot have tattoos or weird hairstyles, otherwise they will not be admitted to the competition” – informed the authorities at the time.