Football: Zhang Li banned for six games after Demba Ba abuse

HONG KONG: Chinese soccer authorities have banned Changchun Yatai midfielder Zhang Li for six games after he was found guilty of racially abusing former Chelsea striker Demba Ba in the Chinese Super League last weekend.

Zhang was also fined 42,000 yuan (US$6,100) after the Chinese Football Association decided the midfielder had used racist language towards Shanghai Shenhua striker Ba during the teams’ 1-1 draw on Saturday.

Chelsea’s Ba reacts during their English Premier League soccer match against Liverpool at Anfi

"According to the CFA Discipline Code, the Chinese Football Association will treat any violation of discipline and the regulations seriously to maintain good order on the field," the CFA said in a statement announcing the punishment for Zhang.

Ba and Zhang clashed late in the second half of Saturday’s game after the former Senegal striker upended Changchun Yatai’s Tan Tiancheng and Zhang launched a verbal tirade towards the ex-Newcastle and Chelsea forward.

The players had to be pulled apart again less than a minute later, with Changchun Yatai’s Odion Ighalo stepping in to mediate. Shenhua coach Wu Jingui claimed during the post-match new conference that Ba had been racially abused. Those allegations prompted the Chinese Football Association to announce on Monday they would be opening an investigation into the incident.

(Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Keith Weir)