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Foreign player salary cap will help domestic players and finances, Chinese FA says

Chen Xuyuan, CFA Chairman. (Image Credit: CFA website)

The Chinese Football Association has said it’s new salary cap for foreign players is aimed at improving domestic players and ‘deflating financial bubbles’.

Liu Yi, the Chinese Football Association’s secretary general, explained the organisation’s thinking behind the salary cap, which was reported several weeks ago, at a workshop to discuss the new regulations in Shanghai.

“The salary cap on foreign players will be the most effective method to help the clubs to deflate their financial bubbles,” Liu said. He continued: “Many teams have been dependent on foreign players in their forward lines. The Chinese midfielders simply need to get the ball and pass to the foreign strikers. So we have to restrict the importation of the priciest foreign players.

“We are working with the Ministry of Public Security and the State Taxation Administration and invite them to help us with the financial supervision. Without implementation and supervision, a policy will be meaningless.”

Liu said the salary cap is not aimed at simply cutting the number of foreign players, but rather seeks to strike a balance between quality and quantity. Foreign player quotas have actually been increased for the upcoming CSL season, with clubs permitted to register six foreigners, with five eligible in match-day squads, up from four last season, and four allowed on the pitch at any one time, up from three.

Liu said: “With one more foreign player, league matches will be more competitive, with a quicker pace.

“What matters is that it will help our domestic players to level-up their strength in a more competitive environment… many Asian leagues use more foreign players than we do.”

The change is part of reforms promised by CFA president Chen Xuyuan in August last year, when he told Xinhuanet: “The CSL and lower leagues have been rapidly developing in recent years, but our professional leagues are still facing a huge crisis.

“The healthy development of professional leagues is the cornerstone of Chinese football. Clubs need to be financially independent. We are far from that.”