Everyone’s favourite League – the CSL – is approaching the halfway stage, but more importantly is entering its mid-season transfer window, oh dear. After spending a rather reasonable £331m during the winter transfer window – more than what English Premier League clubs spent – the Chinese Football Association have now proposed a 100% tax on signings, madness. To make a long story short, if enforced, this would essentially double the fee for any player, with the proceeds from the tax going into fund run by the government…a measure ‘to curb the league’s extravagant spending’…as you do.
After new rules imposed that only three non-Chinese players can be fielded in a match to rationalize spending, the window – open until 14th July – should seemingly be a quiet one then…
Hold on, Wayne Rooney and Diego Costa are both heavily linked with a move to China…not good for the whole ‘church mice’ situation.
Everyone knows the big-money signings and the ridiculous wage bills these stars are on, but does it actually work? And do these players enjoy the football…well, you don’t really need to if you’re on hundreds of thousands a week…just ask Carlos Tevez. The former Manchester man sits 10th in the league with the mighty Shanghai Shenhua, who have an impressive three wins from 12 to their name. Ramires and Alex Teixeira meanwhile, along with travelling Australian Trent Sainsbury, are somehow fairing worse off at Jiangsu Sainty, sitting second from bottom with just one win so far this season.
The goal scoring charts are simply unbelievable. Brazilian Ricardo Goulart has fired Guangzhou Evergrande the top of the pile with ten goals, joint with Guangzhou R&F’s Israeli forward Eran Zahavi. Behind them sits the one and only incredible Hulk, with nine goals for Shanghai SIPG, one ahead of fellow Brazilian Diego Tardelli of Shandong Luneng. Starting to get the picture? A heck of a lot of goals from just 13 games, yet more importantly just one Chinese international – Wu Lei of Shanghai SIPG – makes the top 15 goal scorers…I thought the whole point of this was to unleash the hidden talents of the Chinese players? Other famous faces include Nikica Jelavic, Obafemi Martins, Alexandre Pato and Papiss Cisse among several other stars occupying other positions at these filthy rich football clubs.
Much like the madness of Germany and Scotland, where Bayern Munich sealed their fifth successive Bundesliga and Celtic secured their sixth successive SPL, Guangzhou Evergrande won their sixth CSL title in a row in the campaign just past, and are surprise surprise, top of the league once more as we reach the halfway stage. The Evergrande Group club have lost just once in 13 games, and to make matters worse, their closest competitors from last year’s competition – the aforementioned Jiangsu Sainty – are way off the pace.
Yet more madness comprises both the spectatorship and the history of the competition. Firstly, fourth place Guangzhou R&F incredibly have just an 18,000 seater stadium, an element of football unheard of throughout the rest of the world for such a highly ranked club in a footballing country. Secondly, six clubs that have previously participated in the CSL are now defunct. Defunct! Imagine winning the league – a feat achieved by Dalian Shide in 2005 – only to become obsolete seven years later. They are of course now recognized as Chinese League One side Dalian Yifang, but still, incredible!
The manager list is also hugely impressive yet equally hugely bizarre. It’s obviously the money attracting these big name gaffers to Asia, with Luiz Felipe Scolari, Fabio Capello, shock arrival Roger Schmidt and none other than Fabio Cannavaro leading the sensational lineup.
Just to make the league even more mental, the rules limit the number of foreign players strictly to five per team, while also saving a lovely little but lonely slot for a player from Asian Football Confederation countries. Oh, and next year, clubs will also have to field as many Chinese under-23 players as overseas players. Class.
Did someone say here comes Cristiano…?
The post The Chinese Super League: The Maddest League In The World? appeared first on Tales From The Top Flight.