Shanghai SIPG have refuted claims that star striker Hulk punched the coach of a rival team during half-time on Saturday, saying the claims are “not true”.
The 30-year-old Brazil forward is alleged to have punched Guizhou Zhicheng’s assistant coach Yu Ming at the break during Shanghai’s 3-0 win in their Chinese Super League match.
Hulk has been in great form since joining Shanghai from Zenit St Petersburg for £46.5 million last summer and has bagged four goals so far this season.
Guizhou coach Li Bing said that, “There were some arguments in the first half and their coaches took the initiative to insult us during the game, that was why we had the arguments with them.”
“This lasted until the break, and later, in the corridor, Hulk cursed our assistant coach in English. We argued with him and then he punched our assistant coach Yu Ming, who fell to the ground,” he added
“Foreign players come here to help with the development of Chinese football, but no matter how well you play, you can’t despise Chinese people, let alone beat our Chinese coaches,” he said.
Following the accusations, Shanghai SIPG posted a denial on the club’s official Weibo microblogging account, and accused their rivals of attempting to stoke tension between foreign and Chinese players.
“The claims Hulk punched the assistant coach of Guizhou are untrue,” the post read.
“The statement of Li Bing and Yu Ming are inappropriate and they provoke hostility between the foreign players and Chinese people and it has affected the image of our club,” it added.
Guizhou have since asked authorities to investigate the matter.
“We earnestly request that a higher authority take this matter seriously,” a statement from the club read.
Hulk, meanwhile, also denied the accusations on social media, posting “Unfortunately they [Guizhou Zhicheng] are trying to abuse my image. The coach of the adversary team is accusing me of aggression. Where did he see it?”
“I didn’t behave violently in any way! I have my conscience clear. God knows it. I just want to do what I love most – is to play football!
“I’m very happy in China. I like and respect all of the Chinese people,” he added.