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The Rise of Chinese Soccer

Are you as astonished by the sudden rise of Chinese Super League, that occurred in 2016, as we are? Then this is your ultimate destination to quench your curiosity…

If you are a soccer fan, then you’d have to be living under a rock to not know about how Chinese Super League permeated the tightly knit bubble of the European athletic clubs. It is no mystery that Europeans have dominated football (“soccer” in America) for years, since 19th century to be exact. However, things have changed now, especially when many western players are waylaid by extravagant pay scale and readily sacrificing their legacies in favour of other, supposedly more luring incentives.

And this is where the Chinese Super League enters!

China wants to exult in the veins of “Veni, Vidi, Vici”, in every field in the world. Be it the economy or the sports. And owing to their policies, grit and conviction, they seem to be succeeding in all the domains.

They set their sights on professional football, and it’s for everyone to see how far they have come along.

You are itching to know about the enigmatic Chinese Super League. I get you. Let’s get started with the basics.

What Is The Chinese Super League

Well, this is one is pretty easy. You have probably figured it out on your own. Even if you are grappling with the answer, don’t worry. We have got you covered.

Chinese Super is basically the top flight of Chinese pro soccer which came in inception in 2004. There are some problems that have held the novice league back. Firstly, while the CSL has held its own, however, competing with the pioneer regional rivals like Japan, South Korea and Australia is not an easy feat.

Secondly, there have been some match-fixing problems in the past. And it’s anybody’s guess how shady these issues can be and a result, public support was scant. You and I, we all know how public support comes as a juggernaut that injects a much needed energy in the team.

Despite these obstacles, the Chinese have strived really hard, and didn’t hold back in the financial department. Originally, the league consisted of 12 teams, but has since expanded to include 16 teams. However, Sichuan Guancheng F.C., now a defunct football club, withdrew before the season even started. One can only imagine how drastic the things might have become. Likewise, in 2007, the league tried to expand again, but Shanghai United’s owner Zhu Jun bought a major share in local rival Shanghai Shenhua and merged the two teams, again leaving the league one team short of their goal of 16.

Further down the lane, with some more stumbling blocks in the path, the Chinese government took stringent actions to revive the spirit of CSL. Prevailing corruption and match-fixing issues were fixed. Additionally, the former CFA vice presidents Xie Yalong, Nan Yong and Yang Yimin were arrested.

And ta-da! The crack-down worked its magic. The CSL started to witness more attendance, more funding and bigger clubs in China started investing in foreign talents to continue the league’s development.

As the things progressed, the big shock came in 2015, when the winter transfer window of China topped the Premier League in money spent on transfers, even though the current television deal for the Premier League alone is worth over $5 billion (not including any other sponsorship).

Then amidst the flurry of transfers came the most staggering one - the transfer of Oscar from Chelsea to Shanghai SIPG for over $75 million. With more such transfers, the transition from an obscure team to glory happened steadily.

The rest is, as they say, a history! The astounding rise of the CSL has astonished fans and professionals around the world. They are now a league which is gaining both attention and popularity. For now, things are looking on the brighter side but when the players really start staying for multiple seasons, then we can surely say that - CSL HAS REACHED THERE! Deepti Jain - Writing Correspondent: New Delhi, India


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