Amid the growing trend of luring foreign soccer players to China with sky-high salaries, China’s Football Association has drafted a new regulation to limit the number of foreign players on the pitch.
According to the regulation, announced by the association in Wuhan on Jan.16, a total of three foreign players can play for a team in a given game in the China Super League and China League One. Currently, the limit for each soccer club is five registered foreign players, news portal Inews.qq.com reported.
Many Chinese soccer clubs have spent billions strengthening their teams with overseas talent. One of the most high-profile cases is that of Argentinean striker Ezequiel Iván Lavezzi, who is currently working on a two-year contract with Hebei China Fortune in the Super League, earning $56.7 million.
The regulation is also a sign of more measures to come. Additional restrictions will likely attempt to standardize and curb the excessive fees in China Super League and China League One.
In addition to restricting foreign players, the regulation also required that no fewer than two U23 players be enlisted per game, one of who should be in the starting line-up.
The regulation was released as a result of negotiations between the soccer associations and representatives of soccer clubs in the China Super League and China League One, according to the association’s website. It is intended to help develop China’s soccer industry and cultivate domestic players.
While some soccer experts believe the regulation will prompt clubs to focus more on training young players, others worry it could lead to unnecessary price hikes for those inexperienced players, as not all clubs run their own youth training programs, Inews.qq.com explained.
Source: People’s Daily Online (people.cn)