Chinese Super League set to impose foreign player restriction for matchdays

Doyle BarkerJan 17, 2017

A statement said the new measures will address "irrational investments".

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.

Diego Costa is the latest big-name player to be linked with a move to the Asian league.

Teams can now have three foreign players plus one Asian player on the field at any one time, a system referred to as the "3+1" rule.

"In order to realise "The General Plan of Chinese Football Reform and Development" and to benefit the overall development of Chinese football and Chinese local players, to enhance the quality of the national team and to keep the professional league on a healthy, stable and consistent track, the CFA has adjusted the regulations of the 2017 Chinese Super League and the China League", the statement said.

In early January Chinese authorities rebuked the country's leading clubs for "burning money" in their signing of foreign stars to the detriment of local talent.

The Brazilian, who joined Shanghai SIPG from Chelsea for a record €60 million this month, said he and fellow big-money signings would help raise the level of Chinese football.

From 2017 Chinese clubs will only be allowed to play three foreign players - a restriction that includes players from other Asian (AFC) countries.

Tevez became the highest paid player in world football when he left Boca Juniors for Shanghai Shenhua, reportedly earning over £32 million a year in wages alone.

Big business backers of CSL clubs, encouraged by football fan President Xi Jinping's vision of China becoming one of the game's superpowers, hosting and winning a World Cup, have splashed money on their teams alongside heavy investment in grass-roots development.

China, ranked 82nd in the world, punch well below their weight in worldwide competition, having qualified only once for the World Cup finals, in 2002, where they failed to win a match or score a goal.

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