First of all let me say how pleased I am with the decision by Lewisham Council in South London to leave Millwall Football Club alone and not try and sell adjoining land to their Den home site to some shady offshore corporation to build housing, which would have compromised the club and its faithful fans to continue their Academy and other useful work and move away from their home. Their fans have created havoc across the land but the club has tried to comtrol them.
This month is the Chinese Year of the Rooster. The date is dictated by the Chinese lunar calendar, organized around the movements of the moon and the Chinese zodiac denotes one of 12 animals. The Year of the Rooster lasts until February 15, 2018. Those born under this Rooster sign are hardworkind, resourceful, confident and talented. They are active, talkative and engaging, making them very popular. Negatively they are often seen as vain and arrogant with a tendancy to brag about their achievements.
Lots of news lately about The Chinese Super League with its incredibile salaries offered to a lucky few. Wayne Rooney was recently linked with rumours of a departure from Old Trafford for a £800,000 a week salary or more. On English transfer deadline day it was announced that he would not be allowed to break his contract at this time but might be released in the summer...or maybe not !
The CSL DOES have a website and an attractive logo, but it is only in Chinese, unlike many world famous national league sites that are multi lingual, to cater for the millions who are interested in the English Premier League, Bundesliga etc. The CSL has 16 team spread all over the vast country. For sponsorship reasons it is known as the PING AN CHINESE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION SUPER LEAGUE, under the auspices of The Chinese Football Association.
GUANGZHOU EVERGRANDE TAOBAO are current champions, their 6th such title in the leagues 13 year history. The league season starts early March and ends in late November or early December with each team playing each other home and away. The two lowest finishing clubs are relegated to China League One. The top three clubs as well as the winner of the Chinese FA Cup qualify for the AFC Champions League the following year,
Henan Jianye, a League One club has offered £4 million for Scunthorpe's Kevin van Veen on deadline day. The Iron, a third tier English club answered by saying that £8 million would be a more realistic fee. The Chinese transfer window is open until February 28th. Former Chelsea player Oscar joined CSL club Shanghai SIPG for a £60 million fee. Hulk, Alex Teixeira,(£38 million for Shakhtar Donetsk to Jiangsu Suning.) Ramirez,, Chelsea to JS Suning a year ago, Gervinho, Paulinho ... Former Man Utd and Man City player Carlos Tevez who moved to Boca Juniors in Buenos Aires is being paid £615,000 a week after being sold to Shanghai Shenhua.
Former AC Milan star Alexandre Pato was sold to Tianjin Quanjian for £15.4 after disappointing at Villareal. Shanghai SIPG paid Zenit St. Petersburg £46 million for Brazilian striker Hulk who will earn £340,000 a week.making him the third highest wage earner in world football, after Ronaldo and Messi. The majority of managers are from overseas: Luiz Felipe Scolari-Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao: Beijing Sinobo Guoan- Jose Gonzalwz: Guangzhou R & F- : Dragon Stojkavic: Hebei OFFC-Manuel Pellegrini: Shandong Luneng Taishan- Felix Magath: Shanghai Greenland Shenhua- Gus Poyer: Shanghai SIPG- Andre Villas-Boas; Tianjin Quanjian-Fabio Cannavero; Tianjin Teda-Jaime Pacheco.
Even Sven-Goran Erikkson is working in China, coaching League One club Shenzhen FC. since December 5, 2016, replacing Clarence Seedorf, his third Chinese club in 4 years. You will note that the club names do not easily roll off the tongue, or create much excitement.
In a move to prevent the CSL from being branded THE WILD EAST, the Chinese government and The Chinese FA have stepped in to try and halt the bad publicity and to give home grown talent a chance and the government want to halt the crazy money transfers and wages. Five foreign players per club is one restriction, including a slot for a player from another AFC country. A team could use a maximum of 4 foreigners in a match and this is likely to be reduced to three. Players from Macao and Hong Kong were not considered foreigners for a few seasons but are now., and at least one youth player must start and even this may be increased.
The men's national team has under performed and is currently in 81st place in the FIFA rankings, while the women's national team is ranked 13th. The mens national team coach is Marcello Lippi. Only one FIFA World Cup appearance for the men in 2002 under Bora Milutinovic but they failed to score a single goal and lost all three group matches.
Corruption has marred the Chinese game with association and club officials and referees banned, fined and in some cases jailed. Chinese President Xi Jinping is supposedly a big football fan and has encouraged the association and local municipalities and educational organizations to invest in the grass roots game.
Worth keeping an eye on China and its football.