The Chinese Super League has introduced new regulations easing restrictions on foreign players and making it harder for coaches to sidestep the spirit of rules introduced to guarantee football for Chinese under 23s. The new rules will come into force in match week 16, which begins on July 5 and marks the halfway point of the season. Foreign players have been increased from three to four in a match day squad, with three able to be on the pitch at the same time. This means clubs can replace one foreigner with one another and play all four over the course of a game. The new rule for under-23s is that one has to play the entire match, although they do not have to be replaced by another under-23 if they are injured and there are no substitutes left or they are sent off. Chinese media revealed that proposed rule changes were under discussion by the Chinese FA and Tuesday’s announcement ended weeks of speculation. This latest rule change comes in response to coaches gaming the current system where three under-23s have to feature in a game, with one having to be in the starting line-up. Already this season the league has seen substitute goalkeepers sent on as strikers; one player last week was subbed off after just 55 seconds, and in another game a player was brought on, scored the match winner and then substituted off, all within two minutes. Guangzhou Evergrande have also imposed their own club rules , limiting their use of foreigners to two per match rather than three. It remains to be seen how, if at all, they will adapt to the new rule change. Rules to safeguard the playing time for young domestic players were introduced ahead of the 2017 season. This was in reaction to only 32 Chinese players under the age of 23 featuring in the 2016 season. The initial rule dictated that teams must start an under-23 player or face an automatic 3-0 defeat. However, many coaches substituted the youngsters early in the first half. The rules were amended before the 2018 season to tie the under 23s to the use of foreign players. Tianhai is doing it again. Wen Junjie is being replaced after merely 55 seconds(!). Really hope to see CFA fixing the U23 rule, so a young player must be present on the pitch during the whole match - hopefully, to avoid this kind of a disgrace to happen again. pic.twitter.com/VDE0XutU68 — Roy Tadmor (@RoyTLuo) June 16, 2019 <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!--\n\n\n//--><!]]> Clubs were allowed to field up to three foreigners, but for each one there had to be a domestic player under the age of 23. Even if they played none of their foreign quota they still had to play one domestic under-23. Those ties were formally cut ahead of this season. Teams are exempted from the latest under-23 rule if they have a player called up to an age-group national training squad during a game week. This is not the first time the rules have been changed in the middle of a season but at least the rules were changed before the transfer window opens – on July 1 – rather than after it closed, as happened last summer when they scrapped the ties between under-23s and foreigners ahead of the Asian Games . That was then followed by the CFA introducing under-25 training camps in October, where 55 players were initially removed from their clubs for military-style training with the season still under way. That exempted clubs with players that were called up from the under-23 rules that were in place, effectively ending the policy for the season. In December, the CSL launched an under-23 league to bridge the gap from the youth team to first team football. This is all part of a drive to improve the fortunes of the national team, who lost in the round of 16 at the Asian Games last August. FT: KOR 1 - 3 UKR Korea Republic produce a fighting performance but not enough as they suffer a defeat against Ukraine in the #U20WC final! pic.twitter.com/B23nB2UTbt — AFC (@theafcdotcom) June 15, 2019 <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!--\n\n\n//--><!]]> China’s under-23 national team are now coached by former Netherlands and South Korea boss Guus Hiddink. They can qualify for the Tokyo 2020 men’s football tournament by finishing in the top three at AFC Under-23 Championship in Thailand next January. China are yet to get out of the group stage in three attempts. Their struggles are in stark contrast to the age group success of regional rivals Japan and South Korea. The Samurai Blue under-22 side finished runners-up to Brazil in the recent Toulon Tournament, while South Korea’s under-20s reached the final of the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in Poland.