China’s sports administration body has banned football stars with tattoos from playing for the national team.
The body said that it was ‘strictly prohibited’ to pick new players for national and youth squads who had tattoos, and said the decision was a ‘good example for society’.
The country has introduced more rules regarding tattoos since 2018 aimed at preventing tattoos from being shown on screen, and some footballers have taken to wearing long-sleeved shirts to cover existing tattoos.
The General Administration of Sport (GAS) confirmed that national players with existing tattoos are “advised to have them removed”.
“In special circumstances, the tattoos must be covered during training and competition, with the consent of the rest of the team.”
The Chinese Communist Party dislikes tattoos, which have been seen in China as a mark of criminality, though they are more popular with younger citizens.
China will not make it to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and have not qualified for the world show piece since the 2002 edition in South Korea and Japan.