• Shanghai SIPG star Hulk

Shanghai SIPG star Hulk (Photo : Twitter)

A Chinese football official said that there is no clear evidence that Shanghai SIPG striker and international soccer star Hulk punched the coach of a rival team following an argument.

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No clear evidence

Chinese Football Association (CFA) official Li Lipeng said that, while there was indeed an argument between Shanghai and Guizhou Zhicheng during the halftime of their Saturday Chinese Super League match, there was no video evidence indicating that Hulk broke any league regulations, The Malay Mail reported.

Guizhou coach Li Bing has earlier accused the Brazilian star of punching his assistant Yu Ming during the argument. Li additionally accused Hulk of making racist remarks against them, allegedly shouting that he "despises the Chinese people."

However, Li noted that, from what they have gathered, the incident was "not as serious as some might have imagined."

Hulk has earlier denied the accusation. In a post on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, the 30-year-old footballer stressed that he is happy with his stay in China and respects its people. He also fought back, saying that the other side was simply trying to taint his image.

SIPG also came to the aid of their player. Team general manager Sui Guoyang said that they didn't find any evidence of the punching incident after reviewing the CCTV footage.

On the other hand, SIPG coach Andres Villas-Boas said that he and Hulk were already in the locker room when the supposed incident happened.

No sanctions

CFA's Li hinted that Hulk will unlikely be punished due to lack of solid evidence, The New Paper reported. He added that such minor altercations are fairly common due to the intensity of both teams.

Guizhou announced that they are replacing Li Bing with Spanish coach Gregorio Manzano. There was no indication as to whether the change was due to the incident.

Hulk joined SIPG in June 2016 for a record-breaking $59.8 million contract.