Qin pays price for stamp on Witsel

Shanghai Shenhua's Qin Sheng (26) receiving a red card during the Chinese Super League match against Tianjin Quanjian in Shanghai.
Shanghai Shenhua's Qin Sheng (26) receiving a red card during the Chinese Super League match against Tianjin Quanjian in Shanghai. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING • Shanghai Shenhua will withhold the salary of China international Qin Sheng for the rest of the season after condemning the midfielder's "abominable behaviour" in stamping on Belgian Axel Witsel at the weekend.

Qin received a straight red card for stamping on the foot of Tianjin Quanjian's Witsel as they jockeyed for position in front of Quanjian's goal while waiting for a corner to be taken in Saturday's bad-tempered encounter.

Qin faces a three-game Chinese Super League ban for receiving his marching orders. But his club have come down even harder, slapping him with a 300,000 yuan (S$61,410) fine - a huge sum for many Chinese footballers who do not command the inflated salaries of their foreign team-mates.

They have also dropped him to play with the reserve squad and will withhold his salary for the rest of the year, according to a team announcement on Monday.

Qin may end up getting his wages if he atones with good behaviour, the statement said, adding that in the meantime he would be provided only with a basic living allowance.

"This abominable behaviour, which is a personal, serious violation of regulations and sports ethics, has had a huge negative impact on the club and even Chinese football as a whole," the club statement said.

Qin has issued an apology.

"In the previous game, I displayed severely irrational behaviour, causing an injury to an opponent, affecting the team's result and creating a negative impression," the 30-year-old said on his official account on China's Twitter-like Weibo on Sunday.

He vowed to make amends and said he accepted all punishments handed down by the club.

Chinese media reports estimate his wages at around five million yuan a year.

Many Weibo users leapt to his defence, saying a fine was in order but that withholding his salary was excessive.

"I think the punishment is a bit heavy. If a foreign player committed this kind of malicious foul how would the club deal with that? I feel domestic players are vulnerable," said one user.

Down to 10 men in the 24th minute, Shenhua still managed to take a 74th-minute lead through Giovanni Moreno.

But it was Belgium international Witsel who popped up with the equaliser 10 minutes later. The match ended 1-1.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2017, with the headline 'Qin pays price for stamp on Witsel'. Print Edition | Subscribe