Chinese parachute in top Euro refs to close out CSL season

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October 13 – Chinese football authorities have named the “high-level” European and American referees for the four remaining weeks of the Chinese Super League season in a move to boost the standard of officiating.Sweden’s Jonas Eriksson and Tony Chapron of France will referee Tianjin Quanjian’s meeting with Shandong Luneng and Shanghai Shenhua’s clash with Tianjin Teda respectively as the first part of a move to “improve the accuracy of officiating”, the Chinese Football Association announced.

“In order to ensure a smooth finish to the season, from round 27 onwards the Chinese Football Association will invite referees from Europe and the Americas to officiate on crucial games,” a statement said.

“The improvement of the quality of officiating has been an important part of the CFA’s work and inviting established foreign referees will improve the accuracy of officiating while also providing education and communication opportunities for Chinese referees.”

The move follows a series of controversies on and off the pitch including match fixing scandals that have led to two of the clubs featuring in this weekend’s matches – Tianjin Quanjian and Tianjin Teda – coming under  investigation. The two clubs triggered the probe after relegation-threatened Teda upset heavily favoured Quanjian 4-1 last month.

Four match officials were attacked after a second-tier league match in July after the referee ordered extra injury time and a debatable penalty and CFA vice president Zhang Jian has admitted that “there were rather big controversies with the referees’ decisions in some games”.

The Chinese are also planning to implement the use of video assistant referee technology until the end of the season and for the entire 2018 campaign.

“At the moment, the Chinese Football Association is working with FIFA and the International Football Association Board to implement the video assistant officiating system. It will be tested during the final phase of this season and completely implemented in the 2018 season,” the statement added.

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