Chinese Football Market Update | May 11

Chinese Football Update: By May 11

1.CFA and China Leagues

On May 7, CFA President had an interview on CCTV-13, here’re the key points:

1) It’s positive to have the leagues started this season soon, but it depends on the control of the pandemic and also the policies of the government and sports authorities.

2) CSL will be divided into 2 groups if it can start within June and be finished in Dec. The possible way of dividing would be following as in a “snake-shape” which is commonly considered more fair to all teams in both groups. 

3) It’s impossible to wait for all foreign players and foreign coaches to come back to China before the game starts;FootballPros shared in previous posts about who haven’t entered China since the ban from Central government due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Foreign players and coaches that have/not returned to China by Mar 28

4) National U19 and CSL U23 teams will play in C2L this season.Basically the teams will count the points but not be involved in promotion or relegation.

On May 9, a file from CFA on the plan about CSL U23 participating in C2L in season 2020 was leaked which should be kept confidential.

The core information is as follows:

It is understood that at present, there are two sets of reform plans from the Chinese Football Association for C2L 2020 season: One of which is a plan to divide C2L into three groups, in this case, the number of teams in the C2L is expected to be 36, and one group will be added on the basis of the existing South and North groups, to be: South, middle and North, with 12 teams in each competition group. 

In the case of three competition groups, it is estimated that the number of Chinese Super League U23 teams participating in C2L is 8, plus U19 national youth team, a total of 9 new teams will account for 25% of the total number of C2L teams. If there are still two groups, it is expected that the maximum number of teams participating in C2L will not exceed 32, among which, 7 CSL U23 teams, plus U19 national youth teams, the same proportion as of 25%.

From the leaked file, we can see the basic ideas are:

1) Cancel CSL reserve league.

2) Set up a CSL U23 league.

3) CSL U23 teams apply to participate either in CSL U23 league or C2L based on different requiremts.

4) Points will counted for U23 teams which play in C2L, but they won’t be involved in promotion to C1L, only with path to be relegated to CFA U23 League.

5) Teams in U23 League and CMCL have access to be promoted to C2L.

6) Non-U23 teams in C2L have access to be relegated to CMCL while CSL U23 teams in C2L relegated to CFA U23 League.

So,it’s highly possible that the league system of the first four divisions in China would be like this in season 2020:

5) CFA will support and guide pay-cut for both Chinese and foreign players.

It’s reported that CSL side Dalian Pro has has become the first club of CSL to complete salary reduction. It is understood that all players (including foreign players) agreed to give up their salary of May 2020 after consultation with the club. How to cut wages in further step depends on when the league starts.

6) Professional leagues committee will be established in 1-2 months where the rights of operating the professional leagues will be handed over to this committee from CFA.

2.Tianjin Tianhai Club

It’s reported that due to the failure of acquisition, CSL side Tianjin Tianhai Club has applied to the Chinese Football Association to withdraw registration from the CSL. The club has entered the bankruptcy liquidation process. The first step is to prepare to solve the issue of unpaid salaries to the players. 

According to the rules, if any team of CSL is disqualified, the order of succession is: Shenzhen FC, Beijing Renhe, Guizhou Hengfeng, Heilongjiang FC. Therefore, Shenzhen FC, which was relegated to C2L last season, may have chance to return to CSL.