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Chinese Super League will bring foreign referees for final rounds

After recent controversies, Chinese football authorities have announced the drafting of foreign refs.


Chinese football authorities said on Thursday that they will bring foreign referees to officiate selected Chinese Super League (CSL) games starting this weekend.

This measure was taken as a response to recent controversies.

Also, video replays are set to be introduced on a trial basis.

Eriksson and Chapron to ref in China

Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson will oversee this Saturday’s match between Tianjin Quanjian and Shandong Luneng.

While French referee will officiate Sunday’s game between Shanghai Shenhua and Tianjin Teda.

These two matches will be the first ones of a move that is set to improve the “accuracy of officiating,” as the Chinese Football Association (CFA) said in a statement on Thursday.

“In order to ensure a smooth finish to the season, from Round 27 onwards, the CFA will invite referees from Europe and the Americas to officiate on crucial games.

'The improvement of the quality of officiating has been an important part of the CFA's work and inviting established foreign referees will improve the accuracy of officiating while also providing education and communication opportunities for Chinese referees.'

History of controversy

Since its professionalization in 1994, match fixing scandals have constantly gained presence in Chinese football.

One of the most clear examples happened back in 2012, when former World Cup referee Lu Jun was sent to prison for accepting bribes.

He was sentenced to five and a half years in jail and fined $128,000. However, as he was a state worker, he could have faced death penalty.

More recently, four match officials were attacked after a controversial draw between Baoding Rongda and Huang Xiang in July. (

The Baoding squad was leading 2-1 when the referees awarded a penalty on the seventh minute of stoppage time.

The refs were confronted by players and staff, while fans threw objects to the field.

The officials had to be escorted off the pitch by the security staff.

In order to prevent events like these, the CFA announced plans to implement the use of video assistant referee technology.

'At the moment, the Chinese Football Association is working with FIFA and the International Football Association Board in order to implement the video assistant officiating system. It will be tested during the final phase of this season and completely implemented in the 2018season,' stated the CFA.


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