Why China’s mega-money plan to create an elite Football league has collapsed?

Coronavirus - Teams from Chinese Super League started training
Coronavirus - Teams from Chinese Super League started training

Chinese Super League came forward with an ambitious plan to build an elite Football League a few years ago but it seems their multibillion-dollar plan has collapsed now.

Back in 2016, Chinese sides started paying exorbitant amounts of transfer fees to lure top-class European footballers to China and some of those transfers include Carlos Tevez, Hulk, Oscar, Alex Texeira etc.

Five years on, the Chinese clubs are now struggling to cope with their mounting debt because of the lack of sponsors and the Coronavirus pandemic.

Furthermore, Asian Champions League have introduced a salary cap on foreign players which means that most of the foreign imports will have to take massive pay cuts in order to continue to play in China.

For example, former Chelsea midfielder Oscar would have to take an 86% pay cut in order to continue to play in the Chinese Super League.

This has forced a massive exodus from the Chinese Super League and the clubs are now struggling to sustain their expenses.

Most of the Chinese clubs have struggled to pay their employees properly over the last year and clubs like Jiangsu ceased operations with immediate effect despite winning the championship last year.

Chinese investment in Serie A is significant, as both the Milan clubs, AC Milan and Inter Milan have had Chinese ownership.

Silvio Berlusconi initially sold AC Milan to a Chinese businessman in 2018, but the new owner defaulted on his payment and an American hedge fund Elliott Management have now gained control of the club.

In England clubs like Birmingham City and reading are controlled by Chinese investment as well.

Former Aston Villa owner Tony Xia had to sell the club after relegation. His debt started to spiral out of control and Xia is currently arrested by Chinese authorities for harming the interests of a company in Shenzhen.

According to Xinhua news agency, the Chinese League is in need of a proper rethink from top to bottom.

“It seems incredible and shocking, but it feels like the dust has now settled,” the agency said after Jiangsu’s collapse.

“The most important thing at the moment is to… reload and start again, rather than being lost in confusion or remorse.”

“To some extent, it is a good thing that the bubble has burst earlier (than expected),” it added.

“Chinese professional football has ushered in its first ‘watershed’ after its high-speed, wild growth.

“Respect the laws of football, respect the laws of the market, adhere to youth training and work for the long term.”