December 15 – The Chinese FA (CFA) has mandated a new youth football policy for its Chinese Super League (CSL) and China League One clubs that requires them to have youth teams in five age groups competing for the start of the 2019 season.
To date most of the academy initiatives in China have been state, school or private company based, often with European club or coaching partners. The new club requirements potentially opens the door to many of these schemes to the professional game in a more formal arrangement.
The CFA is encouraging clubs to create academies, schools or training centers to meet the new youth development criteria.
Each club will be required to have a first team, a reserve team as well as U19, U17, U15, U14 and U13 youth teams.
Youth team squads must have at least 18 registered players and will compete in official competitions. Teams have to be able to demonstrate a detailed training and development plan as well as being run by qualified managers and coaches.
For the China League Two clubs, the third tier of Chinese football, clubs do not need to have reserve or U19 teams as many players at these clubs already fall into the U19 age group. However, the will have to run youth teams at the U17, U15, U14 and U13 age groups.
The CFA has said that it intends to enforce the new ruling and any club failing to meet the requirements will have its first team registration withdrawn preventing them from competing in professional competition.
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