(CNN)A university football match in China was abandoned after players with dyed hair ran afoul of organizers' strict rules on appearance, according to state-run tabloid Global Times.
The women's teams of Fuzhou University and Jimei University were scheduled to play in the southeastern Fujian province on Saturday, but several players from both sides violated rules forbidding dyed hair, Global Times reported.
The issue kicked off a frantic dash from coaching staff to secure black hair dye from nearby salons.
However, one player from Fuzhou University was ordered to leave the game after the opposition team reported that her hair was still "not black enough," Global Times reported.
The referee then decided that Fuzhou University would forfeit the game because they couldn't field the minimum seven players required.
"One of the rules regulates that hair dye is not allowed among players," a member of staff from Fuzhou University's PE department told Dazhong News, Global Times reported. "In practice, simple or partial dyeing is acceptable, but 'weird' colors are not allowed."
The Campus Football Alliance said on Weibo that the league organizers' rules state that athletes will be disqualified if they "dye their hair, grow long hair (for boys), wear strange hairstyles, or wear any accessories."
The referee's decision split opinion on Chinese social media.
"This incident makes it hard to get my hopes up for Chinese soccer," said one Weibo user. "Hair dyeing is just a way one expresses his/her personality and pursuing (a better-looking) image. It does not go against social morality or public order."