Even before the spate of new coronavirus cases in Beijing it was notable that the Chinese Super League was nowhere near starting its 2020 season. While football has returned across Europe , China is no nearer a kick-off if reports are to be believed. Last weekend mainland media said the Chinese Super League had not even submitted a new proposal to the authorities ahead of the restart. Conflicting reports suggested there was a new proposal but it has been rendered irrelevant after the spike of cases in the capital. The Chinese Basketball Association’s 2020 season , which has been on a Covid-19 pause since Lunar New Year, resumed on Saturday. Chairman Yao Ming has opted for the season to finish in two cities – Qingdao in the north and Dongguan in the south – with the play-offs beginning on July 30. The start of the Chinese Super League remains postponed. To learn more about the factors affecting the timetable, we talked to Dr. Zhang Wenhong, the head of Shanghai's #COVID19 Clinical Expert Team, who is also serving as a medical adviser for the Chinese Football Associaton. pic.twitter.com/dbmMo9WSNh — CGTNSportsScene (@CGTNSportsScene) June 20, 2020 That makes sense as the league was at the midpoint when it had to cease amid the spread of the coronavirus. The Chinese football season never kicked off. Why, in that case, do they not just call football off for 2020? Shanghai Sports Bureau chief Xu Bin said on Monday that the Chinese Super League (CSL) could kick off in July provided everything goes on as planned. pic.twitter.com/QQ7lT7n3Kv — Sports China (@PDChinaSports) June 16, 2020 It’s been a litany of false starts. Months ago it seemed the CSL would be the first football league to resume but, by turns bizarre and Byzantine, we are no closer to a ball being kicked in anger. This is perhaps made more complicated by this season being the first where the CSL, rather than the Chinese Football Association , was in charge. Then there was China’s travel ban, denying entry to foreigners, which meant that many coaches and overseas players were trapped outside the country. Those foreigners are beginning to return thanks to emergency visas but it has not been across the board, which has brought the integrity of the league into question. July is last chance for Chinese Super League to return: reports On top of that, whatever approach the CSL takes to get the season played has to be approved by both the General Administration for Sport (GAS) and healthcare authorities for it to start. For once, this farcical situation is not the CFA’s fault but that does not make it any less of a farce. Reports had suggested the CSL season might follow the CBA’s split-city approach and be played in Shanghai and Guangzhou, two cities that host four CSL teams. That proposal was snubbed by the government due to safety concerns. Now we are back at square one. “The schedule is still under discussion because the pandemic just resurged in Beijing. Therefore, we are concerned about the situation,” CSL epidemiologist Zhang Wenhong told state media CGTN. Fabio Cannavaro, head coach of eight-time Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou Evergrande, has expressed concerns over Ricardo Goulart's form, saying the Brazilian striker (in pic) needs special care to improve ahead of the restart of the Chinese top football league. pic.twitter.com/igf1F87lBH — Sports China (@PDChinaSports) June 17, 2020 This came days after the CSL insisted once again that the league must be played within 2020, just as they did several months back when stating their “three nos” – no games without fans, no season split over two calendar years and no shortened season . They swiftly backtracked when they released a convoluted calendar that had teams playing each other once and then splitting into groups to decide the final standings. Still they are banging that drum. “The CFA is actively preparing for resumption of the professional football leagues,” a spokesperson told the Global Times newspaper this week. “A fundamental principle is that we won’t have a season in split years.” CSL foreigners might be trapped outside China until October: reports Why then insist the league needs to be played at all? The whole point of the renewed focus on Chinese football is the national team and their goal of reaching another Fifa World Cup, so why not arrange the domestic season accordingly. This is the ideal opportunity for a reset. Bear in mind that this is a league unlike any other, where the calendar breaks for a month around World Cup qualifiers to give the national team the very best chance to prepare. Beijing Guoan at the epicenter of the recent Covid-19 outbreak, are applying for application of entry for their foreign coaches/players, all of whom are still abroad. Early July return is their target. Other clubs are also trying to bring their foreign staff back in July. pic.twitter.com/EIOFHhLgwF — Titan Sports Plus (@titan_plus) June 20, 2020 Surely, this is the chance for the CSL to admit defeat and swerve the season. Capitalise on the coronavirus and reduce the league to a training exercise for Li Tie’s national side. Bus in the clubs to play the national team. It has been happening already when they played Shanghai Shenhua and Shanghai SIPG in friendlies. Let Li’s 40-man squad tour the country playing practice games behind closed doors and preparing for the World Cup qualifiers and put an end to the farce of the football season and its false dawns. Question marks remain over return of Chinese football The GAS released its requirements for the national team last week, stating that they must be readied for the rescheduled qualifiers in October and November. Given that there is little interest in the league either within China or outside, they might as well let the CSL teams act as practice sides. It’s time for Chinese football to embrace the farce.