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Chinese Super League to lower foreign player quota by club

With more and more high-profile names coming into China, the football authorities are to restrict the number of foreign players from five to four per team.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 26:  Oscar of Chelsea controls the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on April 26, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul GilhamDIARIO AS

China will lower the number of overseas players allowed on domestic teams from five to four in an effort to cool the red-hot market for foreign talent, its football authority said.

Financial burdens and reduced opportunites

Clubs in the mega-rich Chinese Super League have splashed out more than $400 million on domestic and foreign players this year after President Xi Jinping laid out his vision of turning the country into a football powerhouse.

Xi Jinping has a footballing strategy.
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Xi Jinping has a footballing strategy.EFE

The new restrictions on the number of foreign players allowed on club rosters was announced Friday by the Chinese Football Association, the sport's governing body in China. The CFA said only three foreigners from the same team would be allowed to play at any one time, according to a statement posted on the official social media account of the state-run Soccer Newspaper.

'High-level foreign players have brought energy to the CSL and made CSL games more enjoyable, but they've created financial burdens for clubs and reduced opportunities for mainland players,' the CFA said.

A timely announcement

The new rules come a week before the CSL transfer window opens and a day after Shanghai SIPG club confirmed it had signed Chelsea's Oscar for a reported 70.5 million euros.Chinese teams broke the Asian record for the most expensive signings three times in just 10 days in the January-February transfer window, and moved it still higher when Brazil's Hulk joined SIPG for 55.8 million euros in July.

Champions League football couldn't hold Hulk back from joining the CSL.
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Champions League football couldn't hold Hulk back from joining the CSL.EMMANUEL FOUDROTREUTERS

The new rules would take effect when the 2017 season started in March and would 'promote the long-term development of every club within the professional league', the CFA said. The official People's Daily warned last week that the explosive growth in Chinese football spending was a bubble, noting the eight billion yuan ($1.15 billion) in overall spending this year 'far exceeded the economic value brought to the league'.

But the huge outlay on players shows no sign of easing, with Argentine forward Carlos Tevez reportedly considering an 84 million euro offer to join Shanghai Shenhua.


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