China has moved forward with banning its footballers from getting tattoos and has also ordered players with existing tattoos to remove or cover them up.
The decision was to set a “good example for society,” a directive issued by the General Administration of Sport of China (GAS) started.
The directive, which is titled “Suggestions for strengthening the management of football players,” details disciplinary requirements for national team players, CNN reported.
“Athletes of the national team and U23 national team are strictly prohibited from having new tattoos,” read the directive.
“Those who have tattoos are advised to remove tattoos by themselves. In cases of special circumstances, tattoos must be covered during training and competition after the consent of the team.”
National teams at Under-20 levels are not allowed to recruit new athletes with tattoos, the directive added.
The measures “fully demonstrate the positive spirit of Chinese football players and set a good example for society,” said the GAS statement.
The directive added that national teams should organize activities that “strengthen the patriotic education” of athletes to “enhance the sense of mission, responsibility, and honor, and create a national team capable of conquering and fighting well and with excellent style of play.”
This isn’t the first time China has fought against tattoos.
Three years ago, China’s media regulator issued an edict across Chinese television, saying, “should not feature actors with tattoos,” during a crackdown on “hip hop culture, sub-culture, and immoral culture.”
CNN reported that tattoos were required to be blurred from being seen on TV.