By Andrew Warshaw
May 25 – In a move designed to halt the flow of highly-paid overseas players to clubs in the red, the Chinese FA has announced prohibitive new curbs less than a month before the next Chinese transfer window opens on June 18.
The new rules could potentially prevent the likes of Diego Costa and Wayne Rooney – both linked with a move to the Far East – from joining the Chinese Super League this summer.
Under the latest mandate, the first financial curb on irresponsible deals, loss-making clubs which pay a transfer fee for a new player must invest an equivalent amount in a government-run fund set up to cultivate young home-grown talent.
“Clubs signing players through capital expenditure will be charged the same amount, with the full sum going to the Chinese Football Development Foundation, to train young players, promote social football and soccer charity activities,” a statement said.
The CFA also said that starting in the 2018 season, clubs will be required to field an equivalent number of foreign players and under-23 Chinese players in each game.
The measures are intended to discourage clubs from the “pursuit of short-term results, blindly one-upping each other, high-priced acquisitions, and actions that drive up prices”, said the CFA in a hard-hitting statement.
The moves follow a number of eye-watering deals that have smashed the Asian transfer record five times within 12 months, the latest being Oscar’s move to Shanghai SIPG for €60 million as Chinese clubs splashed a record €388 million in the January-February transfer window.
President Xi Jinping, a huge football fan, says he wants to see China host and eventually win a World Cup, somewhat unrealistic for country that currently languishes 81 in the world. Xi’s call has been met by a rush to import a string of top foreign stars coming towards the end of their careers, a strategy China now realises is a misguided approach.
Chinese authorities have already issued a number of warnings about overspending and starting this coming season, clubs will be limited to fielding no more than three foreign players per match, down from the previous four, and must have at least two under-23 Chinese players per game, including at least one in the starting line-up.
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