Mon, Apr 17, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Paulinho rebuked by CFA over betting advertisement

Reuters, HONG KONG

Guangzhou Evergrande’s Paulinho, center, and Kawasaki Frontale’s Ko Itakura on Wednesay tussle for the ball during the AFC Champions League match at Todoroki Athletics Stadium in Kawasaki, Japan.

Photo: EPA

Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho was on Saturday asked by Chinese soccer authorities to end his involvement with an overseas betting company, urging all players in the Chinese Super League (CSL) to “be strict with their public image.”

Paulinho, who plays for CSL champions Guangzhou Evergrande, featured in an advertisment for a Philippines-based gambling company alongside Tsukasa Aoi, an actress and model who has appeared in adult films in Japan.

Gambling and pornography are illegal in China and the Chinese Football Association (CFA) issued a statement warning Paulinho about his future behavior.

“Following an investigation, the representation was the player’s own decision and he has not reported it to his club,” the statement said.

“Guangzhou Evergrande have criticized Paulinho and asked him to stop the commercial activities with the betting company immediately in order to put an end to any similar activities in the future,” it said.

Paulinho joined Guangzhou from Tottenham in a deal worth 14 million euros (US$14.86 million at current exchange rates) almost two years ago and since then the likes of Carlos Tevez, Oscar and John Obi Mikel have signed for CSL clubs as the country seeks to turn itself into a soccer power.

Foreign citizens living in China should comply with the country’s laws, the CFA said.

“Recently, FIFA and the AFC [Asian Football Confederation] have been working hard to protect the integrity of football and have explicitly forbidden professional players from any involvement in the betting industry,” it said.

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