The Chinese Football Association (CFA) said yesterday they are investigating Brasilian star Hulk’s alleged altercation with a rival club’s staffer, but saw “no malicious intent” in a separate racially-charged row involving Argentina’s Ezequiel Lavezzi.
The CFA said the disciplinary committee held a hearing last Friday with Hulk, who plays for Shanghai SIPG, and the assistant coach of Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng.
The hearing came after Guizhou’s then head coach Li Bing accused the Brasilian striker of punching his assistant, Yu Ming, at half-time during SIPG’s 3-0 victory earlier this month.
Li had suggested Hulk had a racial motive for the alleged attack, though he later appeared to back off those comments.
Hulk and the Shanghai club have rejected the accusations.
Days after the Hulk incident, the Chinese Super League faced another controversy when promotional photos emerged of Lavezzi smiling and pulling the corners of his eyes back.
Hebei China Fortune, Lavezzi’s club, issued a statement on Sunday saying that the 32-year-old had apologized and insisted he meant no racial offense.
“We believe the footballer and the photographer did not have any malicious intent when they were shooting. (We) hope media don’t read too much into this,” the CFA said yesterday.
“Due to the differences in national conditions and cultures, different hand gestures or expressions have different meanings.”
But the CFA urged Lavezzi “to regulate his words and actions more” as a public figure.