BEIJING (AP) — The governing body of Chinese soccer plans a series of measures in response to what is termed “irrational” spending by clubs on transfer fees and player salaries, amid concerns that foreign stars are crowding out local talent and harming the country's goal of becoming a global force in the sport.
The Chinese Football Association said in a statement Monday the steps will target the “operations and management” of teams in the top-tier China Super League and the China Premier League, one step below it.
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The measures will address “recent irrational investments by clubs, high-figure transfer fees and salaries paid to domestic and international athletes and other issues,” the CFA said in a statement.
Spending by Chinese clubs on players such as Argentina's Carlos Tevez has drawn global attention, raising fears among some that domestic players will be denied opportunities. That could stifle the government's attempts to produce talent capable of achieving its stated goal of winning the World Cup by 2050, part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's push to make soccer success a national priority.
Other rules announced by the CFA appeared firmly aimed at addressing the lack of opportunities for Chinese players. They reduce the number of foreigners who can appear at any given time for a club from four to three and require each team's starting lineup include at least two Chinese players under age 23.
Shanghai Shenhua said it paid an $11 million transfer fee to Argentina's Boca Juniors for Tevez. Oscar was purchased from Chelsea, and Brazilians Hulk, Ramires, Alex Teixeira and Paulinho, Colombian striker Jackson Martinez and Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi also joined the league.
Chinese Super League clubs are thought to have spent close to $300 million in the winter transfer window.