Chinese set to clamp down on imported foreign players quota

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June 23 – China is reportedly considering a change to its foreign player quota at Super League clubs. Chinese clubs hit the news with a number of big international signings in the winter.

Guangzhou, the defending Super League champions, signed £31 million Jackson Martinez while Jiangsu splashed out £38.4 million on Alex Teixeira and £25 million on buying Brazil’s Ramires from Chelsea.

Now the Chinese look to be making a move to curb the influx of big name big money stars. Currently China has a 4 + 1 rule that means a club can have four foreign players plus another player from an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) member association in its squad.

When it comes to matches the club can only use three of its foreign players (plus the player from the AFC country) on the field at any one time. The fourth foreign player can be substituted into the match for one of the other foreign players.

The rule, that has been in place since 2009, looks likely to change to a 3 + 1 rule. Clubs will be given a season to adjust their squads with the new ruling likely to come into effect for the start of the 2018 season.

The Chinese have regularly tinkered with their foreign player rules and in 2012 allowed clubs playing in the AFC Champions League to increase the number of foreign players in their squad to seven, though this rule was dropped for the 2013 season.

Professional footballers in China receive relatively high salaries compared to other Chinese sports leagues and a professional playing career is increasingly becoming an aspiration for young Chinese athletes. Because of the higher wage structure in Chinese football than in most countries in the region, the country has attracted a number of overseas players, particularly from South American and east European countries.

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