Life ban brandished for Chinese ref rage

BEIJING - A footballer who led an attack on the referee after a qualifier for China's 11th National Games last weekend was banned for life by the Chinese Football Association (CFA) on Thursday. In the latest incident to tarnish the reputation of Chinese football, Tianjin's Zhao Shitong chased referee He Zhibiao for over 100 metres and pushed him down to ground before being restrained by police at the end of a match against Beijing on Sunday. Zhao was banned for life from any activity related to football, the CFA said in a statement on its website. Several of his team mates were also handed lengthy bans for their part in the attack on He, who had dismissed three Tianjin players in Beijing's 3-1 victory. Goalkeeper Li Gen and midfielder Hao Tengjiao, who chased the referee off the pitch, were each given three-year bans. Two other players were banned for 30 months, two for two years, one for 10 matches and one for five matches. An official from Tianjin Teda, the local Chinese Super League club, was also banned for a year. The incident came at the end of the final round of group matches in an under-20 competition to decide which of China's provinces and autonomous regions would qualify for October's National Games. Tianjin were eliminated.