The Chinese Football Association (CFA) have brought in new rules affecting player wages and team names, after the CFA's chairman Chen Xuyuan claimed "Money soccer’ is eating away at the health of our sport".
An official notice stated that teams that incorporated sponsor companies in their name will be forced to change them for neutral alternatives, as well as slashing the salary cap, in a bid to make football in the Asian country more fiscally sustainable.
The new rules were disclosed as part of a meeting that took place yesterday (14 December).
Chinese players will now only be able to earn up to 5 million yuan a year, a figure that has been halved on the original 10 million yuan per year, set only last year and the average a team can pay its local players cannot exceed 3 million yuan.
Clubs will have their total yearly spending capped at 600 million yuan per year and foreign players will only be able to make up to 3 million euros annually. Footballers who had become popular across Europe were swept away by the Chinese Super League including, Oscar, Carlos Tevez and Hulk, who all reportedly earned large amounts of money during their time operating in China, with Oscar still plying his trade their currently.
Breaking the new rules could see teams face point deductions or in extreme cases, could be demoted to a lower league.
“The investment by Chinese clubs is three times higher than in Japan’s soccer league and 10 times that of the South Korean league,” the CFA’s chairman, Chen Xuyuan, said at the meeting.
"Money soccer’ is eating away at the health of our sport, but some people still aren’t tuned in to this fact.”
Strict spending limits were implemented on Chinese teams from overspending on foreign players, which has since resulted in China's top players being overpaid , in the eyes of the CFA.
It is hoped that the salary caps and reduced spending may encourage Chinese players to explore opportunities abroad where the standard of play is viewed higher than that which can be offered in China, offering a challenge to the players and encouraging them to reach higher potentials.
Meanwhile, further guidelines state that teams must remove corporate sponsors from their names and a new name should comprise no more than four characters and evoke local culture and team spirit.
The new name requirement has been met with controversy with some teams having sponsorships in their names since the 1990s, leading to official fan groups from five teams issuing a joint statement urging the CFA to remove that rule, something they were unsuccessful in achieving.
Author: Jake Wilkin