Reform the CFA or Dismiss the CFA
Not a single day passes without some new drama in Chinese football, the only thing that remains the same low competitive level and the mystifying football management talks.
Former Team China manager Camacho’s legal team is still in deadlock with CFA for his contract compensation payment, and FIFA or even CAS could be the next stages for solution-finding. But according to some media sources, the higher political echelon beyond the National Sport Administration (NSA) has been shocked by the miserable situation of football in China, and they have decided that more thorough structure reforms should be undertaken as soon as possible.
The story was first reported by Soccer News, a dying football newspaper, which has been in the same boat with China football. It quoted a hidden source from within the CFA, saying that higher political leaders had decided that the NSA has been meddling too much with football issues, and that has been the rotten reason for causing football failures, therefore, the coming reforms would be to depoliticize CFA, and make them a proper independent NGO, empower the organisation with more control over China football.
It sounds nice, and FIFA would love this tone of talk, because the CFA’s identity has always been a thorny issue for FIFA. In FIFA’s constitution, all national or regional FAs should be independent and stay clear of government involvement, but the CFA is an extreme opposite example: it is the same group of government employees with two titles, one is called China Football Association, for FIFA to enroll, the other is called the Football Sport Management Center of the NSA, a typical bureau class unit which belongs to the central government.
No government interference in FAs? The CFA is government!
If the future structural reform could really release CFA from the central government power map, it would be an ideal result for FIFA, but realistically speaking, it will be no help for Chinese football.
This is because the CFA is a decaying organisation that can only survive in the centralised bureaucratic system, and has no capability of serving and governing the sport in China as an industry custodian. The past 20 years of consistently continuous decline of China’s football would be the perfect testimony. And if you talk to football supporters in China, 99% of them would not give a vote to the CFA for football’s future in China.
Reform on rotten bodies, would be fighting for a losing cause. This kind of reform is more like another PR movement, to shift people’s attention from the horrible defeat by Thailand’s youth team and the Camacho scandal.
This kind of PR movement could be successful, as people’s memories are fading away. The cries for the truth behind the defeat by Thailand are not as strong as two weeks ago. Was that a fixed gam？Were some of the international players underperforming intentionally to get rid of the unpopular Camacho? Were there any influences from clubs to discourage their international players serving the national team?
The CFA remains silent.
However, Guangzhou EverGrande FC could not keep it cool. On July 11, a special club meeting was called in the headquarters of the EverGrande real estate development company. President Xu Jiayin, who likes to be called ‘President’, announced an eight clause company policy in regardi to all Chinese international players at the club. The policy includes that any player from Guangzhou EverGrande FC being recruited by the national team, would be reward by him with a 100,000 RMB (about £11,000) bonus; any international player from the club misbehaving or underperforming in the national team, would be punished with a 200,000 RMB (about £22,000) fine; any under 23 players from Guangzhou EverGrande being recruited by the full international team, would be rewarded with 10 million RMB (you guess the figure in pounds or Euros)!
A day before this EverGrande meeting, the new national squad was announced, four Guangzhou EverGrande players who played in the Thailand match were omitted.
John Yan is Deputy Editor of Netease.com