Oscar handed eight-match ban for sparking CSL brawl
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Former Chelsea midfielder Oscar was handed an eight-match ban by Chinese football authorities on Thursday for his role in a brawl that broke out during Shanghai SIPG's draw with Guangzhou R&F at the weekend.
The Brazilian, who moved to China for a record transfer fee in January, was also fined 40,000 yuan ($5,855) by the Chinese Football Association in the latest move by the country's authorities to stamp out indiscipline.
"According to the referee's report, video evidence and a written explanation from the parties involved... Oscar offended opposing players in an immoral manner, leading to a massive brawl which has had a very bad influence on the Chinese Super League's reputation," an official statement said.
The incident was triggered in the dying seconds of the first half of Sunday's game after Oscar had set up Hulk to score his side's equaliser, with Guangzhou players complaining to officials the strike should have been ruled out for offside.
Soon after the restart, Oscar deliberately kicked the ball at two Guangzhou players, provoking a response that led to a scuffle on the halfway line.
Oscar was pushed to the ground by Guangzhou's Chen Zhizhao, while R&F's Li Tixiang and Fu Huan of SIPG were sent off for their part in the ensuing altercation.
The 25-year-old joined SIPG from Chelsea in January for an Asian record transfer fee of 60 million euros ($66.96 million) as Chinese Super League clubs continued a spending spree that has seen several high-profile acquisitions in recent years.
Oscar's purchase was the third time in a 12-month period the Asian transfer record had been broken with the fee paid for the Brazilian surpassing that paid by SIPG for Hulk seven months earlier.
His sanction is another sign Chinese authorities intend to crack down on poor behaviour as the profile of the Chinese Super League grows overseas.
Shanghai Shenhua's Qin Sheng was given a six-month ban in March for stamping on the foot of Belgium international Axel Witsel in a game that was televised internationally.
($1 = 6.8316 yuan, 0.8961 euros)
(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong; Editing by John O'Brien)