Chinese left-winger Wei Shihao has been given a heavy fine by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for kneeing Vietnamese defensive midfielder Pham Xuan Manh in the face during the fourth match of the AFC Champions League (ACL) group stage earlier this month.
Wei committed the unsportsmanlike act on Manh in Wuhan Three Towns FC’s 1-2 defeat against Hanoi FC on November 8, resulting in an immediate red card in the 75th minute.
Following this incident, AFC announced a three-match suspension and a fine of US$1,000 for Wei.
This penalty renders the Chinese midfielder ineligible for the remaining two matches of Wuhan Three Towns in Group J against Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds and South Korea’s Pohang Steelers.
Should Wuhan Three Towns advance to the next stage, Wei’s suspension will carry over to the subsequent match.
If not, the penalty will be reserved for application in the next ACL participation.
Additionally, AFC issued a warning to Wei, indicating that the fine may escalate if similar violations persist in the future.
In the aftermath of his misconduct against Manh, the Chinese midfielder also faced strong criticism from Chinese football fans and the press.
Chinese-language Sohu newspaper commented that the unacceptable behavior leading to Wei’s red card has drawn widespread condemnation.
This is not the first time Wei has met with severe penalties as he received a six-match suspension in the top-tier Chinese Super League (CSL) for insulting a referee last year.
The 2023-24 ACL is the 42nd edition of Asia’s premier club football tournament, featuring 40 football clubs from 20 associations.
The 40 teams were drawn into ten groups of four.
The tournament winner will qualify for the 2025 FIFA Club World Cup in the United States.
Hanoi FC stand as the sole representative from Vietnam participating in this year’s ACL.