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China cracks the whip with record fines

CHINA midfielder Cui Peng has been slapped with a record fine and a five-match ban for elbowing an opponent during a domestic league match, in accordance with the country's new "zero tolerance" policy towards on-pitch violence.

The new boss of Chinese soccer, Nan Yong, is determined to change the league's reputation for violence, corruption and mediocre performances in its sixth season.

Shandong Luneng's Cui, who has had his share of disciplinary problems, was handed the 30,000 yuan (US$4,391) fine despite avoiding a red card for elbowing a Shaanxi player in the face in the Chinese Super League last weekend.

"The incident had a negative social impact," said a statement posted on the Chinese Football Association Website. "All clubs must fully intensify the education of players, purify the game atmosphere, and eliminate on-pitch violence and other unethical behaviors."

Li Kai of Dalian Shide was banned for four games and fined 25,000 yuan for throwing a water bottle into the crowd during the opening round of matches two weeks ago.

"We are taking zero tolerance to any unethical behavior to ensure the healthy development of the sport," Nan said at the start of new season.


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