Why Did China Ban Footballers From Getting Tattoos?

In a new directive issued by the General Administration of Sport of China (GAS), China has banned footballers from getting tattoos and advised those with existing ones to remove or cover them up in order to set a “good example” for society.

“In special circumstances, the tattoos must be covered during training and competition, with the consent of the rest of the team,” the organization said.

Why Did China Ban Footballers From Getting Tattoos?
Defender Zhang Lingpeng with an extensive sleeve of tattoos 
Photo from Sky

“Suggestions for strengthening the management of football players,” or so the directive is called, mandated that “athletes of the national team and U23 national team are strictly prohibited from having new tattoos.” It also forbade national teams at Under-20 levels from recruiting athletes with tattoos.

According to a statement from the GAS, the measures “fully demonstrate the positive spirit of Chinese football players.”

It also added that national teams should organize “ideological and political education activities” that would “strengthen the patriotic education” of players. The goal would be 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.”

The directive comes amidst a crackdown on body art in China, which began in 2018. At the time, the country had stopped showing tattoos on screen, leading many athletes to start covering up their arms with long sleeves.

More than that, actors, celebrities, athletes, and other TV personalities have been asked to refrain from showing off tattoos and even men’s ponytails, calling such acts of individual expression “unhealthy content.” In some instances, tattoos have been blurred onscreen.

In any case, China’s national football team has failed to qualify for the World Cup finals since making their debut appearance in 2002. It is also expected that they will miss out on Qatar 2022, as they are fifth in their six-team qualifying group after six rounds of games.

Art Daniella Sison


Get Hundreds of Discounts & Vouchers

Grab ₱100,000 worth of vouchers on food, home essentials, fashion finds and more!

Lush Sleep Body Lotion


Get weekly updates on new articles and deals.