CSL restart in doubt as China’s closing borders leave overseas players outside country

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March 30 – Chinese Super League teams may have returned to training as a result of the coronavirus outbreak in the country easing, but it may not be so easy for the league to restart because of  stringent travel restrictions for a raft of foreign players, plus the lingering threat of infection.

Football was suspended in February before the season got underway and mid-April or early May has been touted as a possible date for the CSL’s return.

But with overseas players either unwilling or unable or return, local reports say the season has now been pushed back to late May or early June with foreign players and coaches still in their home countries.

Last week China slashed the number of international flights and said that even foreigners with valid visas and resident permits would be blocked from entering as of Saturday night.

Brazilian stars Oscar and Hulk jetted in just in time but fellow Brazilian Paulinho reportedly heads a long list of foreign stars locked out of China as the country attempts to stop importing coronavirus cases.

Former West Ham United striker Marko Arnautovic is another of the more than 30 overseas players and coaches still abroad, reports say, dealing another blow to hopes of starting the Chinese Super League (CSL) any time soon.

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