Shanghai (AFP) – Fabio Cannavaro’s Guangzhou Evergrande docked the pay of five backroom staff Wednesday for “damaging the club brand” after star defender Zhang Linpeng was forced to wear another player’s shirt with the name and number covered by yellow tape.
The incident happened during the first half of Tuesday’s Asian Champions League last 16 first leg at Chinese rivals Tianjin Quanjian, after match officials told Zhang, Evergrande’s number five, to change his shirt because it had blood on it.
Evergrande staff were unable to immediately rustle up a replacement ‘5’ jersey, so they gave the centre back substitute Zhang Wenzhao’s ’15’ shirt with yellow tape over the ‘1’.
They also covered the name at the top of the shirt with yellow tape. Evergrande were playing in their yellow away strip.
The 29-year-old Zhang, the heavily tattooed China international once linked with Chelsea, changed into the correct shirt a short time later.
But members of Evergrande’s backroom staff paid the price when the Chinese Super League champions issued a statement hitting out at their “lack of sense of responsibility” over the makeshift solution.
General manager Gao Han was among the club officials who will have his pay cut.
“The team’s kit management has made major mistakes and has seriously damaged the club’s brand,” said the club, who nullified the threat of Tianjin’s forward pairing of Anthony Modeste and Alexandre Pato to earn a useful 0-0 away draw.
The club did not specify how much of a financial hit was suffered by those punished.
World Cup-winner Cannavaro’s side host Tianjin next Tuesday and will be slight favourites to reach the last eight of the Asian Champions League, which they won in 2013 and 2015.