China punishes player for "unsportsmanlike" message

Updated: 2007-04-28 09:05

The Chinese Football Association (CFA) suspended Xiamen Lanshi defender Gabriel Melkam for three matches and fined him 5,000 yuan (US$650) for wearing a vest emblazoned with "Chinese umpires are all fakes".

On Sunday, the Nigerian import stripped off his team uniform after a 0-0 draw against Chinese Super League (CSL) side Henan Jianye, revealing the undershirt to journalists before a post-match press conference, local media reports said.

"Xiamen No. 4 Melkam displayed serious unsportsmanlike behaviour, which harmed the league and brought a negative influence to bear on society," the association said in a statement on its Web site.

Local media said Melkam's act was in response to a referee blunder in the previous round that caused Xiamen to lose 1-0 to Shanghai Shenhua.

An injury-time goal was awarded to Shenhua striker Sergio Blanco, who League officials later conceded was off-side.

Melkam's punishment was light as he had admitted his mistake and apologised to officials, the reports said.

"Our punishments are not particular, they are for the education of all players," CSL director Ma Chengquan said.

($1=7.720 Yuan)

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