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Chinese Super League 2017

Everyone gets tapped up in Chinese Super League, says Hong Kong international Jack Sealy

Illegal approaches to top players who are already under contract with other clubs is common in the CSL says Hong Kong international

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 January, 2017, 11:13am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 January, 2017, 12:52pm

A week after Chelsea were forced to deny a rumoured offer for their star striker Diego Costa, Hong Kong international Jack Sealy said illegal approaches to top players who are already under contract with other clubs is common in the Chinese Super League.

The 29-year-old said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Lionel Messi playing in China before long such is the appetite for the top stars of Europe in Chinese soccer, despite the Argentinean still being under contract with Barcelona.

“I think everyone gets tapped up. They go for the best players and work their way down until someone takes the bait,” the defender told the BBC.

‘Tapping up’ is the practice of persuading a player, already contracted to another club, to transfer away without the consent of the player’s club. It is against Fifa regulations for players, their agents or clubs to engage in the practice and sanctions can be tough.

Following a famous tapping-up case involving England defender Ashley Cole in 2005, Chelsea, their manager Jose Mourinho and Cole were handed record fines. Cole’s agent was banned for four months.

Argentinean striker Carlos Tevez, former Chelsea midfielder Oscar and Belgian international Alex Witsel have all transferred to China in recent months, and rumours of the next big-name star to make the move to the Super League emerge daily, often without the knowledge of the player’s club.

‘Go to China!’ – Chelsea axe Diego Costa after he is latest linked with big-money move

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte claimed he had no knowledge of a supposed approach from a CSL club for star striker Diego Costa last week after reports in the British media said that Costa was dropped from the Chelsea team after a bust-up following a HK$280 million a year offer to move to China.

Sealy moved to Changchun Yatai last season and helped them avoid relegation from the CSL in the final weeks of the campaign. He made seven league appearances for the club last term but said he is hopeful of getting more opportunities this season after the controversial implementation of the three foreigner ruling.

“There might be a few more arguments amongst the foreigners as to who plays, but it might mean that I get more games,” said the former South China defender.