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Shanghai SIPG coach Villas-Boas, Hulk banned over Oscar protests

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Shanghai SIPG head coach Andre Villas-Boas attends a AFC Asian Champions League group match in Shanghai, in April 2017 © AFP/File / Johannes EISELE

Shanghai, China, Jun 30 – Shanghai SIPG coach Andre Villas-Boas and Brazilian striker Hulk were suspended for two Chinese Super League games on Friday after they protested against the eight-match ban handed to midfielder Oscar over a mass brawl.

Extending what has been a rocky season for China’s newly imported football talent, Villas-Boas was banned for making an “irresponsible comment” on social media, while Hulk was suspended for wearing a T-shirt backing Oscar.

Chinese international Wu Lei was also hit with a two-match ban for wearing a similar T-shirt to Hulk’s, which bore the words, ‘NOTHING TO DO, NOTHING TO SAY’, after SIPG’s 4-1 defeat of Henan Jianye on Sunday.

The phrase has become a rallying cry after Oscar wore a T-shirt with the same wording before his eight-match ban for triggering an all-in brawl during SIPG’s recent game against Guangzhou R&F.

The Chinese Football Association also fined Hulk and Wu 50,000 yuan ($7,500) each, while SIPG received a 100,000 yuan fine and a warning over the controversy.

“Victory is the result every participant pursues but it can never be at the cost of sacrificing football order and disrupting football rules,” the Chinese Football Association (CFA) said in a statement.

“Respect the rules, referees, fans, opponents and the game.

“The CFA will keep strictly punishing all violations of rules and discipline and hope that all clubs, officials and players can maintain order.”

Shanghai SIPG Brazilian footballers Hulk (C) and Oscar, pictured during a team event in February 2017 © AFP/File / Johannes EISELE

The CFA did not say what Villas-Boas’s remark was, but after Oscar’s ban he wrote on Instagram: “355 career games; 5 years in the English Premier League; 47 appearances for Brazil; 70 goals. ZERO RED CARDS!!! 8 games suspended.”

Portugal’s Villas-Boas, the former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur manager, joins a growing list of well-paid foreign stars getting into strife with China’s football authorities.

Gianluca Zambrotta, assistant coach to Fabio Capello at Jiangsu Suning, was also banned for two games following a melee at the end of Monday’s 0-0 draw at Beijing Guoan.

Hulk was earlier investigated over claims that he punched a rival coach, an allegation that he and SIPG deny.

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