SIPG players told to avoid brawls, fouls in new season

SIPG's top brass wants the players and coaches to stay away from trouble on and off the pitch when the new Chinese Super League season kicks off on Saturday.
Ti Gong

SIPG forward Elkeson and midfielder Oscar attend the pre-season mobilization meeting on Wednesday.

A top Shanghai SIPG official has made it clear to players that flagrant fouls or group fights during the new Chinese Super League season, which kicks off this week, will not be tolerated.

The Chinese Super League club held a pre-season mobilization meeting on Wednesday that was attended by players, coaches as well as club and city level officials.

“No matter what the occasion, our players must stick to the three “nevers” — never make flagrant fouls, never pick up fights, and never get involved in mass disturbances,” Chen Wuyuan, chairman of SIPG Group, said in a speech during the meeting.

“The team made progress in 2017, though we were one step away from realizing the dream (of winning a championship),” said Chen, who did not set a specific goal for the team for the coming season.

Chen said he wanted the players to be disciplined and fight for team’s honor with a positive attitude, respect the referees and avoid money-worship.

“With no discipline, there will be no victory. To become a champion team, SIPG shall first become a champion in attitude and manners, which is to some extent is more meaningful than any trophy,” said Chen.

SIPG finished second in the 2017 Chinese Super League. It was eliminated by Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds in the semifinals of the Asian Champions League, and was defeated by city rival Greenland Shenhua in the finals of the CFA Cup, thus failing to win “at least one championship,” — a task that was assigned to the club’s former Portuguese manager Andre Villas-Boas at the beginning of the season.

Villas-Boas did not extend the contract after the 2017 season after a troubled year when he was banned for 12 matches by the Chinese Football Association for “improper comments.” SIPG’s Brazilian player Oscar was also banned for eight matches in the early part of the season for causing a brawl in the CSL match against Guangzhou R&F.

Villas-Boas’ successor and countryman Vitor Pereira also gave a brief speech, expressing his determination in leading the club to a championship in the coming season.

SIPG’s first opponent in the CSL this year will be newcomer to the top-tier Dalian Yifang. The match will be held at Shanghai Stadium on Saturday.

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