The Chinese Football Association (CFA) has warned Guangzhou Evergrande midfielder Paulinho following his involvement in a gambling advert alongside a Japanese adult movie star.
The CFA also advised players in the Chinese Super League against such behaviour in the future, urging them to “be strict with their public image”.
Paulinho, 28, appeared in the advertisement for a Philippines-based gambling company earlier in the month with Tsukasa Aoi, a Japanese actress and model who has starred in adult films.
The former Tottenham player was shown wearing a T-shirt bearing the company’s logo, brandishing a wad of cash and a mobile phone while standing beside Aoi.
Gambling and pornography are illegal in China and the Chinese Football Association issued a statement on Saturday evening warning Paulinho about his future behaviour.
“Following an investigation, the representation was the player’s own decision, and he has not reported it to his club,” said the statement.
“Guangzhou Evergrande have criticised 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.”
“Every Chinese and foreign citizen living in China should comply with Chinese laws. 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.
“We here again urge that, as the role model for the youth and the public, professional players be strict with their public image, to take a positive lead and maintain a healthy football environment.”
Paulinho joined Guangzhou from Tottenham in 2015 and won the Asian Champions League in his first year with the club, as well as two Chinese Super League titles.