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CHINA

Chinese footballer Zhang Li banned for six games after racial insults

Chinese footballer Zhang Li banned for six games after racial insults

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The midfielder was found guilty of ‘interfering with the normal order of the game’ as no reference to racial abuse was mentioned.

Zheng Li, a Chinese Super League (CSL) footballer accused of racially abusing Senegalese striker Demba Ba was on Friday banned for six matches.

Ba, a former Chelsea and Newcastle striker, was allegedly insulted during Shanghai Shenhua’s 1-1 draw against Changchun Yatai by opponent midfielder Zhang.

Various Chinese media reports claim that Zhang repeatedly shouted ‘you black’ towards Ba after he collided with one of the midfielder’s teammates.

"I learned that a Yatai player used insulting language toward him," Shanghai Shenhua coach Wu Jingui said after the match.

"Around the world, it has been stressed that there should be no insulting speech toward black athletes. The Chinese Super League has players of many different skin colours. We should respect our opponents and there should be no discrimination."

Guilty of causing chaos, not of racial abuse

In a statement, the Chinese Football Association (CFA) announced that Zhang was found guilty of "interfering with the normal order of the game" and "causing chaos". However, no reference to racial abuse was included in the report.

"According to the CFA Discipline Code, the Chinese Football Association will treat any violation of discipline and the regulations seriously to maintain good order on the field," the CFA stated.

The Chinese midfielder was also fined 42,000 yuan (5,375 euros).

Ba has not publicly commented on the issue.

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