Chinese football is tragic like never before and is in danger of complete collapse

In the opening series of the AFC Champions League East took place yesterday, April 15, 2022, the Chinese teams received poor results. In Group I, Guangzhou FC lost to Johor Darul Ta’zim of Malaysia with a score of 0-5. In Group F, Shandong Taishan lost 0-7 to Daegu of South Korea, creating the biggest loss of the club in particular and of the China Super League (CSL) in general at the top Asian tournament.

It is worth mentioning, this is a result that is heralded by both Guangzhou and Shandong using a second formation with many young players. Their quality is very bad, completely unsuitable for a high-class arena like the AFC Champions League. For example, goalkeeper Cao Zheng of Shandong, the team that won the Chinese National Cup and National Cup double last year, constantly makes silly mistakes, especially the “assist” phase for your team to score the second goal.

Many years ago, the AFC Champions League was the top goal of CSL clubs. But now it becomes a burden. In addition to Guangzhou and Shandong, Shanghai Port also intends to use the youth team. However, at the beginning of the week, the CSL runner-up team withdrew from the tournament, leaving Group J with only 3 teams. Last month Changchun Yatai also gave up the right to participate in the tournament.

Chinese football is tragic like never before and is in danger of complete collapse - Photo 1.

Shandong Taishan lost 0-7 to Daegu of South Korea in the opening match of the AFC Champions League. (Photo: Sohu)

The strict Covid-19 prevention rules in place in many cities affecting the match schedule is one reason. But the biggest reason why the Chinese club is not interested in the AFC Champions League is related to finance. A series of backing corporations fell into crisis, then withdrew, causing the teams to become insolvent. Salary debt became common, foreign stars who once enjoyed sky-high salaries had their contracts cut and many clubs fell into bankruptcy.

Also yesterday, Qingdao FC confirmed that it would withdraw from CSL because of the dire financial situation. This club won the right to play in the top tier of China in 2020, but for the past 2 years, it has been in a state of lack of money and has not been able to find sponsors. Last December, many key players threatened to go on strike because they did not receive wages.

It is not excluded that the Gangzhou Mighty Lions will be the next team to leave the tournament. Earlier this week, defender Wang Zihao posted a long post on Weibo asking the club to pay his salary for more than a year. “Why can’t I get my hard earned money? I also have a family to take care of, a debt to the bank to pay, and now I have to borrow to make ends meet,” Zihao wrote.

After months of delays, CSL is scheduled to launch next month. But no one knows from now until then how many more teams will be asked to withdraw. Before this year, there was a wave of collective withdrawal of 20 clubs from the Chinese professional league system.

Chinese football has never been seen before and is in danger of complete collapse - Photo 2.

The giant Guangzhou now has no foreign players in the squad. (Photo: Sohu)

Currently, the remaining teams are not happy either. Out of 18 teams in CSL, 3 teams, including Guangzhou, Hebei and Wuhan Yangtze River, do not have foreign players. Guangzhou, formerly Guangzhou Evergrande, has terminated the contracts of Elkeson, Ricardo Goulart, Fernando Henrique, Alan Carvalho and Aloisio. Naturalized player Jiang Guangtai will also soon leave because the old salary is no longer maintained.

According to the new regulations on the ceiling salary of the Chinese Football Federation, the maximum salary is only 600,000 yuan (about 2.1 billion VND) and the starting salary is 60,000 yuan (215 million VND) per year. This salary is not attractive to Chinese players themselves, not to mention foreign stars who are used to living with high incomes. On paper, Shanghai Shenhua has 3 foreign players, Bolanos, Christian Bassogog and Lonsana Doumbouya, but so far they have not returned to the army.

Memories of a grand tournament, bringing together the world’s top stars, are now very faint. The Chinese Football Federation is facing a dilemma. Either they have to strictly implement the regulations and eliminate the teams that do not meet the financial standards, leading to the total collapse of the CSL, or turn a blind eye, as long as the teams can operate, the tournament will still happen.

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