AFC bans top China player and coach for 6 months

Former Partizan Beograd and AEK coach Ljubiša Tumbakovic will not be able to perform his role as the coach of Shandong Luneng in the China Super League in the next six months. The Asian Football Confederation has suspended him for attacking one of the match officials in his team’s Asian Champions League duel with Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia in September.

Tumbakovic's players, Predrag Pažin and former "Chinese Footballer of the Year" Zheng Zhi were also been banned "but while the Serbian defender won't be able to play for 13 months the Chinese international has been suspended for just six despite the fact that he also spitted and abused the referee", Yugo-website, Jadrand Sport, reported. The coach and both players were also each fined US$ 4,500.

Zheng Zhi's absence will be felt by the China PR national side. The ban came into effect on 9 November meaning he will miss the two upcoming friendlies against Serbia and Montenegro and Bulgaria on 13 and 16 November respectively.

UPDATE

The Asian Football Confederation has reduced the punishment to Chinese midfielder, Zheng Zhi, after hearing an appeal from China Super League club, Shandong Luneng, China Broadcast reported. Instead of a suspension from all competitive matches, the new decision only bans Zheng Zhi from playing in the AFC Champions League next year (3 Dec).

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