Inside the Chinese Super League

Chinese Super League

There’s a sleeping giant in the world of football and it’s called the China Super League, it currently ranks 14th among professional sports leagues in the world by revenue and is now and the 6th highest professional association football league in the world, behind Bundesliga, Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and Liga MX and is growing rapidly.


About the Super League

The Chinese Super League was created by the rebranding of the former top division Chinese Football Association Jia-A League in 2004. The Super League is the Premier League/ La Liga/ Serie A of Chinese football, and the Chinese Football Association “Jia League” or “China League One” is the name of their second division.

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There are currently 16 teams competing for this season, and the Super League starts in March and ends in December. During each season, each club plays each other twice, once at home and the other leg away. With 16 clubs currently in the Super League, teams play 30 games each, in a total of 240 games in the season.

The two lowest-placed teams by the end of the season are relegated to the second division China League One and the top two teams from the second division are promoted up to the Super League.

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Player Salaries and Transfers

The league has rules restricting the number of foreign players strictly to four per team, this was done to promote native player development.

According to Forbes, the average soccer salary in China was the sixth highest in the world. The Chinese club spending most on wages in the 2018 season was Guangzhou Evergrande, where players received an average of $2,190,533 which is 160 times as much as regular citizens!

The Super League is well funded by some super wealthy team owners and has been paying up for big talent over the past few years, Former Southampton striker Graziano Pelle earns $21.7 million at Shandong Luneng and Brazilian Oscar takes home $27 million in salary from Shanghai SIPG.

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2017 was the peak of the spending and the Super League was in the gobal spotlight for attracting expensive talent such  Oscar, Carlos Tevez, Ricardo Carvalho, Alexandre Pato and John Obi Mikel.

The 16 Super League Teams

Beijing Renhe, Beijing Sinobo Guoan, Chongqing Dangdai Lifan, Dalian Yifang, Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao, Guangzhou R&F, Hebei CFFC, Henan Jianye, Jiangsu Suning, Shandong Luneng Taishan, Shanghai Greenland Shenhua, Shanghai SIPG (current champions), Shenzhen F.C., Tianjin Teda, Tianjin Tianhai, Wuhan Zall

Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao are the most successful Chinese Super League team with 7 tiles so far.

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The Future

The Chinese Football Association has implemented restrictions on the number of international players per team, and has also introduced a new transfer tax to restrict transfer spending. However this won’t halt the growth of football in China, if anything it will help spur on native talent and draw more youth in China to played football from an early age.

In the western world we’ve massively growing TV Right deals as well as record transfers every year. With a population of 1.4 billion we would expect the growth of football and the money flowing into the Super League to be on a huge growth trajectory over the next few years, watch this space.

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