Guizhou Zhicheng’s then head coach Li Bing had accused the muscular Brazilian of punching his assistant Yu Ming in a racially-motivated attack at half-time during SIPG’s 3-0 victory on Saturday, allegations that the Shanghai club and Hulk both flatly denied.
On Monday, Guizhou Zhicheng abruptly announced that Spaniard Gregorio Manzano, former coach of Shanghai club Shenhua, had replaced Li as coach. The club gave no further information or indication that Li was let go because of the Hulk controversy.
«At half-time there indeed was a dispute between the two sides. But according to our understanding of the situation so far, there is no evidence that Hulk violated any regulations,» Li Lipeng, a Chinese Football Association (CFA) official involved in overseeing the professional leagues, said in Beijing on Tuesday.
Speaking to Chinese media, Li added that the run-in «was not as serious as some imagined.»
The comments appeared to suggest that Hulk, one of a number of highly paid foreign stars imported to the cash-rich Chinese Super League, was unlikely to be sanctioned over the controversy.
Guizhou’s Li had suggested Hulk had a racial motive for the alleged attack, saying that the Brazilian star «cannot be here and despise Chinese people,» though he later appeared to back off those comments.
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