Zhang's drink-drive arrest sparks CFA warning

AFP
Chinese football chiefs have urged clubs to rein in their players after promising midfielder Zhang Xiuwei allegedly smashed his Porsche into several other cars after drink-driving.
AFP
Imaginechina

Midfielder Zhang Xiuwei of the Chinese Super League's Tianjin Quanjian.

Chinese football chiefs have urged clubs to rein in their players after a promising midfielder, nicknamed the "Chinese Modric", allegedly smashed his Porsche into several other cars after drink-driving.

Zhang Xiuwei, a China under-23 international tipped to make the senior side, was arrested following the early-hours incident last week in the northeastern city of Tianjin.

The Tianjin Quanjian player, who previously had a two-year spell in France in Lyon's reserve and youth sides, careened his sports car into six parked vehicles, Xinhua news agency said.

Photos on Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter, showed a badly mangled white Porsche Carrera purportedly belonging to the 21-year-old. Nobody was injured.

Police said Zhang was detained on suspicion of dangerous driving on August 16.

Football fans in China have likened Zhang to Real Madrid's Croatian playmaker Luka Modric because of his talent and hair, which he wears longer than most other Chinese players.

The Chinese Football Association, which has in the past dealt harshly with players who step out of line on and off the field, said the incident "sounded alarms".

"This professional footballer was meant to set a positive example for the public, yet caused a mishap due to carelessness and indulgence in his personal life," the CFA said in a statement this week.

"We feel regret and are extremely upset with his behavior.

"We hope that all clubs will take this as a warning and strengthen their management and education of football players in order to protect our hard-earned environment of football development."

Zhang was "an outstanding" player who had learnt a harsh lesson, the CFA added, saying he had been over the drink-driving limit.

Tianjin, which is fifth in the 16-team Chinese Super League under Italian coach Fabio Cannavaro, confirmed in a separate statement that he had been drinking and said it would punish the apologetic midfielder.

Police investigations continue.


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