Reports from China that football players are now banned from displaying tattoos during matches have lead to criticism from fans and one or two hilarious memes.
News of the apparent ban first surfaced on Sunday after several Chinese players, including Gao Lin and Wei Shihao, were seen wearing bandages and tape during their China Cup opener against Wales a day earlier.
The ban is part of a national campaign to introduce a ‘healthy culture’, according to the South China Morning Post.
This should be getting a *lot* more attention: last night, there was an order from on high to China's football team to cover all visible tattoos. Yet another example of government interference, but FIFA continues to turn a blind eye… pic.twitter.com/Teb6xpS5IV
— Mark Dreyer (@DreyerChina) March 23, 2018
Foreign players are reportedly not affected by the ban.
Fan reaction was rather negative, with the Post quoting netizens asking whether “We can win because our players have no tattoos?”
Other comments included, “I have no idea of any relationship between tattoos and soccer skills. The Football Association must be eating too much and cannot think straight.”
The ban also saw some post a meme about the heavily tattooed Guangzhou Evergrande defender Zhang Linpeng.
"I am Zhang Linpeng" joke doing the rounds, following reports that Chinese football players must now cover their tattoos during games. pic.twitter.com/DvS4sgspHM
— Mark Dreyer (@DreyerChina) March 25, 2018
Other fans suggested that rather than focus on how players look, it might be a better idea for Chinese football officials to concentrate on the team’s play given that both China Cup games resulted in heavy defeats.
China went down 0-6 to the Welsh while they also lost 1-4 to the Czech Republic.