Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Super-rich Chinese league kicks off

03 March 2016, 17:16

Cape Town - A record-breaking spending spree which made the football world sit up and take notice has ensured that all eyes will be on the Chinese Super League when it starts this week brimming with foreign stars.

Alex Teixeira and Jackson Martinez, signed under the noses of English giants Liverpool and Chelsea, headline what has become Asia's most glittering league after a 331 million euros ($359 million) splurge on players.

Ramires, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Gervinho are also among the highly paid players who will get their first taste of the CSL after being lured from Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Roma respectively.

Whether the sudden mass investment will translate into quality on the pitch is unclear, but transfers which smashed the Asian record four times and outstripped the English Premier League have created an undeniable buzz.

"Everyone in China is talking about the league, workmates, friends, even old people on the street," said 33-year-old Shanghai SIPG fan Ma Zheng.

"There's a feeling that Chinese football is going to be worth watching again this year after many years of it being looked down upon by Chinese," he said.

A Chinese league bursting with money and glamour is a far cry from the widespread corruption of just a few years ago, before a major crackdown ensnared dozens of officials, referees and players.

Guangzhou Pharmaceutical were kicked out of the CSL in the fall-out – only to bounce back a year later and, rebranded as Guangzhou Evergrande, finish as champions for the next five seasons.

But in a sign that suspicions remain, the official gambling operator in neighbouring Hong Kong has barred bets on the CSL, citing fears over "transparency, integrity and competitiveness".


Tycoon club-owners have been encouraged to spend big on players by the authorities headed by football-loving President Xi Jinping, who have ambitions to host and even win a World Cup.

The political pressure has yielded purchases like Martinez, who was expected to leave Atletico Madrid for Chelsea but instead joined Evergrande for 42 million euros.

The move broke the Asian transfer record, which was raised again just days later when Jiangsu Suning snapped up Liverpool-linked Teixeira for 50 million euros from Shakhtar Donetsk.

Other notable imports include Gervinho to Hebei China Fortune for 18 million euros, and Colombian international Freddy Guarin to Shanghai Shenhua from Inter Milan for 11 million euros.

While this year’s spending has reached record heights, Chinese clubs have been importing top players in their prime for several years now, including Evergrande's 2011 capture of Fluminense playmaker Dario Conca, then 28.

The championship is expected to be a fight between Evergrande, led by former Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari, and his old sparring partner Sven Goran-Eriksson, whose Shanghai SIPG were last year's runners-up.

Guangzhou R&F open the competition on Friday against newcomers Hebei China Fortune, with Evergrande starting their title defence away to Chongqing Lifang on Sunday.

But despite the hype over the high-profile new signings, there are also misgivings about what impact they may have on the process of developing home-grown talent.

China have under-achieved on the global football stage for decades, having reached only one World Cup, in 2002, and looking in severe doubt for the next edition in 2018.

"I'm happy to see more famous players coming to play in China and pushing up the quality of the league here," said Li Jun, an office worker from Beijing.

"But I worry these players will block Chinese players from getting more time on the pitch."

The lack of local talent is cited as one reason for Chinese clubs' massive spending, although quota rules mean they must have at least seven domestic players on the pitch at any one time.



Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilwon Ochieng
Deputy Governor's ally found with...

The EACC has recovered KES 2 million in fake currency from a close ally of Deputy Governor for Tharaka Nithi Eliud Mati. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Mudavadi given permission to join...

Musalia Mudavadi has been ghranted permission by his party to join the CORD Coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
EACC officers raid Deputy Governo...

EACC officers raided the home of a Deputy Governor as theft case continues in court. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
New IEBC bosses to be named Novem...

New IEBC bosses will be named on November 30. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
DP Ruto has spoilt my name, activ...

DP William Ruto has spoilt my name, activist complains. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Apologise for attack on Auditor G...

Apologise for attack on Auditor General, President Uhuru Kenyatta is told by Kisumu Senator Anyang Nyong'o. Read more...