Brazilian forward Hulk has been suspended for two games in the Chinese Super League following his protests at the suspension of his teammate Oscar.
The Chinese Football Association have laid down the law against the Brazilian players, with both of them receiving match bands, as well as their coach Andre Villas-Boas receiving a two-game stadium ban. Interestingly enough Hulk’s suspension comes as a result of his support for Oscar, rather than an incident on the pitch involving him.
Oscar’s troubles with the CFA started after the player supposedly started a fight during the game between his side, Shanghai SIPG, and Guangzhou R&F. Replays showed Oscar shooting the ball towards his opponents. Two of the players involved received red cards, however, the Brazilian was not disciplined by the referee. The CFA later analysed the incident and slapped the former Chelsea player with an eight-match suspension.
International star Hulk plays for the same team as Oscar. They are are both part of a number of high-profile players having joined the Chinese League in recent years. Hulk and team-mate Wu Lei expressed their disapproval at the CFA’s decision by snapping a few photos in t-shirts that featured slogans against the decision. Hulk’s read “nothing to do, nothing to say”, while Wu Lei’s read “nothing to do”.
The CFA was none too happy about the players questioning their decision and went on to offer the protesters two-match bans each and a hefty fine of over $7000. The team’s manager Villas-Boas, formerly of Chelsea and Tottenham, was also banned for two games and fined after what were deemed to be “inappropriate comments on social media”. Indeed, the manager had made the incendiary remarks on social media: “355 career games; 5 years in the English Premier League; 47 appearances for Brazil; 70 goals. ZERO RED CARDS!!! 8 games suspended.”
The CFA argue their decisions by saying that the participant’s behaviour “affected the environment of the Chinese Super League in an inappropriate manner and caused adverse affects [on the league]. Victory is the result every participant pursues but it can never be at the cost of sacrificing football order and disrupting football rules,” CFA’s statement reads. “Respect the rules, referees, fans, opponents and the game.”
The statement goes on to make the promise that such offences will be monitored and punished in the future. “The CFA will keep strictly punishing all violations of rules and discipline and hope that all clubs, officials and players can maintain order.”
It looks set that Oscar will indeed have to wait out his eight-match ban. In the not too distant past, the 25-year-old Brazilian shone at Chelsea, earning himself comparisons to compatriot Kaka (on his better days). Recent events must really make Oscar wonder about his career. His main question will likely be “what is a player like himself doing playing in China?”.