The Chinese Super League road, dreaming and fading into darkness
The Chinese Super League road, dreaming and fading into darkness,
Saudi Arabia is investing a lot of money in the development of football in the country. With the arrival of Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, there is a wind of change in the country’s football arena. This is exactly how China spent a lot of money to change its football structure. But ultimately it did not see the light of day in the long run.
In keeping with Europe, they have already sent many star footballers to Saudi Arabia.
Among them are star footballers like Karim Benzema, N’Galo Kante, Roberto Firmino, Eduardo Mendy, Marcelo Brozovic, Kalidou Coulibaly, Ruben Neves. It goes without saying that the brilliance and popularity of the Saudi Pro League has increased manifold in the space of one year.
However, the money invested by these teams, in the end, will Saudi Arabia’s football be successful in the long run? “This is a big mistake for Saudi Arabian football,” said UEFA president Aleksandar Ceferin. Because what they are doing is not right. They should emphasize their own academies.
However, the UEFA president made this statement from a past incident. Because China spent money before Saudi Arabia. But only spending money ultimately did not bring success to that project of the Chinese Super League. On the contrary, this league has been in a state of disrepair for the past 3 years.
Let’s go back a bit. The time was after the 2014 World Cup. Brazil’s Oscar, Hulk, Paulinho are drunk in Europe. At the same time, Didier Drogba was in the twilight of his career. It was at this time that the Chinese Super League authorities caught their eye. Oscar, Hulkrao could not ignore the remuneration that is many times higher than in Europe. They left Europe and moved to China.
A few years later they were joined by two Argentines Carlos Tevez and Lavezzi. Lavezzi was signed by Hebei China FC for the highest fee. With the presence of such star footballers, the Chinese Super League became the center of attraction in no time.
But that charm did not last long. At the end of 2019, an extreme financial recession occurred in China due to Corona. The entire league fell into financial trouble due to lack of long-term planning. By then, the Chinese Super League will sink due to the wave of corona for two consecutive years.
After that, the league could not come down from there. The owner of one of the CSL teams, Jiangsu FC, was forced to close the club after Corona. The current situation of 8-time league champions Guangzhou FC is even more deplorable. In last season’s CSL, they reached the bottom of failure. Their place is now in the relegation phase.
It does not end here. In the 2016-17 season alone, Hebei China FC spent €400 million on players. Of this, Lovezzi alone had to pay them 798,000 euros per week. The club could not ensure the infrastructural development of the club while paying the footballers behind.
However, the Chinese Football Association (CFA) was the biggest responsibility behind the Chinese Super League going to such a low point. Because of their one decision, the clubs have to face huge losses later.
In 2018, the CFA issued a new rule on foreign footballers. Where it is said, if a footballer is brought in for a fee of more than 5 million euros, then the clubs will have to pay the same amount to the CFA.
And because of this rule, the clubs gradually reduce the purchase of foreign footballers. All the star footballers also started to leave the Chinese Super League. CSL is slowly losing its luster.
In between, the then president of the Chinese Football Association, Shen Xuan, was arrested for financial irregularities and many corruptions. Basically, with the passage of time, due to many irregularities and corruption, Chinese football fell behind. However, Covid-19 has acted as a major influence behind this. However, their lack of long-term planning is the reason why China’s football is in such a bad state today.
Saudi Arabia, another Asian country, is currently on the path to a football revolution. Although the Saudi government is also on this journey. Still, this demotion of Chinese football can serve as a cautionary lesson for them. Only time will tell whether the Saudi Arabia Pro League will be full of stars for a time or another China Super League.