After months of false dawns amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Chinese Super League will finally kick off its 2020 season on July 25. Fittingly, Wuhan Zall, the top flight team from the city where the first Covid-19 cases were reported last year, will play the opening day. Their game against top flight newcomers Qingdao Huanghai takes place in Suzhou after the season opens with champions Guangzhou Evergrande playing Shanghai Shenhua in Dalian. The Wuhan side were kept out of the city while it was locked down, even after they returned to China from preseason in Spain. The season was originally meant to start in February before China shut down sport in its battle against the virus. Much like the Chinese Basketball Association restart, which has seen teams gathered to play games in Qingdao and Dongguan, the CSL will be based in Suzhou and Dalian, where they will be confined to one hotel per city outside matches. Fixtures are scheduled to be played from the opening day until September 29. with 112 games over the 14 rounds until September 28. That will then see the league break ahead of China’s Fifa World Cup 2022 qualifiers, which take place in October and November. Once the two eight-team group stages are completed, the teams will split into four groups of four, with the top group battling it out for the title and the bottom four teams playing to avoid relegation. This year only the bottom team goes straight down to China League One with the team finishing above them facing a play-off with the second tier runner-up. There are questions over what happens afterwards because of the planned resumption of the AFC Champions League and the potential for four of the 16 CSL teams to progress deep into the continental tournament. Concerns over a lack of match fitness, with no competitive action in China since last December, and the fact that many of the foreign players and coaching staff have only recently returned to China and face quarantine.