The Chinese Super League is all set for its long delayed kick-off on July 25 after all of its players tested negative for Covid-19. Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported that 1,870 players were given nucleic acid tests and all came back negative. This season was originally meant to start in February before a blanket ban on sport in China as part of the country’s anti-coronavirus measures. The CSL was finally approved to begin this month after a plan to play behind closed doors with teams based in two groups located in Suzhou and Dalian. Xinhua reported that CSL newcomers Qingdao Huanghai were the first team to arrive at their hotel with all teams in place by July 20. Covid-19 tests will be given to players once per week, with players, staff and officials restricted to stadiums and their hotels outside training and matches. Officials have already warned that teams breaching the strict coronavirus measures risk being expelled from the league. “Our anti-epidemic measures are very strict, and those who violate them could be kicked out of the league for this season,” CSL official Qi Jun told Chinese media this week. “The teams and players should not expect to be only fined or suspended for their violation,” he added. Chinese Football Association president Chen Xuyuan had earlier told of the strict measures enforced to ensure the league could go ahead. “We discussed the programme at length in order to guarantee that the CSL will register no Covid-19 cases. We have taken strict prevention measures,” he said. The first stage of the league sees games from July 25 until late September with plans for the second stage set to follow.