Chinese Super League 2016

China to lower club quotas for foreign players amid new spending spree

Chinese Super League clubs will only be allowed to have four overseas players, with only three allowed to play at any one time

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 December, 2016, 9:28am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 December, 2016, 9:28am

China will lower the number of overseas players allowed on domestic teams from five to four in an effort to cool the red-hot market for foreign talent, the Chinese Football Association said.

Clubs in the mega-rich Chinese Super League have splashed out more than US$400 million on domestic and foreign players this year after president Xi Jinping laid out his vision of turning the country into a football powerhouse.

The the Chinese Football Association (CFA) said only three foreigners from the same team would be allowed to play at any one time, according to a statement posted on the official social media account of the state-run Soccer Newspaper.

The new rules come a week before the Chinese Super League (CSL) transfer window opens and a day after Shanghai SIPG confirmed they had signed Chelsea’s Oscar for a reported 70.5 million (HK$571m).

“High-level foreign players have brought energy to the CSL and made CSL games more enjoyable, but they’ve created financial burdens for clubs and reduced opportunities for mainland players,” the CFA said.

Chinese teams broke the Asian record for the most expensive signings three times in just 10 days in the January-February transfer window, and moved it higher when Brazil’s Hulk joined SIPG for 55.8m in July.

Brazilian Oscar to move from Chelsea to Shanghai SIPG for reported Asian record £60m

The new rules will take effect when the 2017 season starts in March and would “promote the long-term development of every club within the professional league”, the CFA said.

The official People’s Daily warned last week that the explosive growth in Chinese football spending was a bubble, noting the US$1.15 billion in overall spending this year “far exceeded the economic value brought to the league”.

But the huge outlay on players shows no sign of easing, with Argentinean forward Carlos Tevez reportedly considering an 84m offer to join Shanghai Shenhua.