SPORTS

Brazil star left red-faced after leaked pictures show him promoting illegal betting with Japanese porn star

TAGs: China, LeTou, Paulinho

A controversy involving one of China’s biggest football imports is brewing, and it’s one that will make Chinese authorities’ heads spin.

China, as we all know, likes to keep a tight leash on the fun stuff. Gambling and pornography are outlawed in the country as the government seeks to “clean up” the internet. This begs the question: what happens if someone combines porn and gambling in one majestic, footballer package?

After scoring a hat trick for Brazil’s 4-1 World Cup qualifying win against Uruguay, Brazilian international and former Tottenham Hotspur star Paulinho returned to his Chinese Super League Club Guangzhou Evergrande last week. But instead of accolades, the midfielder will face questions from his club and Chinese authorities after photos of him promoting a betting company with a Japanese porn star surfaced in the internet.

Paulinho agreed to endorse LeTou, a betting company based in Southeast Asia that targets punters in China. He was snapped with Tsukasa Aoi, one of the biggest adult movie stars in Asia. Aside from the photos, there was also footage of the Brazilian footballer in his home with Aoi. It’s unclear how long the porn star was staying with Paulinho or if they played ahem football.

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Professional football leagues around the world ban their players from betting on any football match, and the Chinese Super League, in particular, has a zero tolerance policy towards unsporting incidents.

Brazilian Footballer Paulinho’s Chinese gambling porn photo shoot hits the internetRecently the Chinese Super League authorities issued a two-game ban for Shanghai Shenhua midfield Sun Shilin, who was caught giving Brazilian player Alexandre Pato of the Tianjin Quanjian an ironic thumbs up after he missed a penalty several weeks ago. If the league hands suspensions and heavy fines for unsavoury displays on the field, what is in store for Paulinho?

Aoi is no stranger to controversy. The adult star has been embroiled in a sex scandal with Japanese pop idol Jun Matsumoto, and last year made headlines after a Japanese man sent threatening messages to her via Twitter. After the man was arrested, Aoi thanked the police and declared, “Eroticism is beautiful.”

Paulinho joined Evergrande a little over two years ago from the Tottenham Hotspur. He was one of three China-based players in Tite’s squad as Brazil tightened their grip on top spot in South America’s qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Will Paulinho’s hat tricks save him from the wrath of Chinese morality police? Only time, and Chinese Sports League authorities, will tell.

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