Guangzhou Evergrande is about to separate itself from the rest of the field a little more.
The club was granted the ability to buy two more foreign players by a conference of the professional league council in Xianghe, Hebei province on Wednesday.
The council was assembled in February to work on a developmental path for the leagues and make key decisions, like setting a limit on foreign players.
Each CSL club is allowed five foreign players, which must include at least one from Asia.
CSL front-runner Guangzhou Evergrande proposed that clubs playing in the AFC Champions League be allowed to buy more foreigner players to help them remain simultaneously competitive in continental competitions and the domestic league.
After being rejected twice, the club joined another six council members from Guangdong province - including three clubs, Guangzhou R&F, Guangdong Sunray Cave, Shenzhen Ruby, and the soccer associations of Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Guangdong province - to make a third proposal this month. This time, it proposed that AFC Champions League participants be allowed seven foreign players, including two from Asia.
The proposal was approved by a vote of 43-16.
The number of foreign players who can play in one game remains at five, and no more than four (one from Asia) can be on the field at the same time.
Evergrande is the only club to benefit from the result, as Beijing Guo'an and Tianjin Teda have been eliminated.
Evergrande and sports authorities were accused of influencing the vote. Jia Leishi of the Chinese newspaper Soccer News wrote on his micro blog on tencent.com that CFA asked several member associations to support Evergrande's proposal.
"The modification of the foreign player quota should be a very important issue, which must be decided on the basis of plenty of studies and discussions. How can it be changed in the middle of the season?" Gao Chao, general manager of Beijing Guo'an, said after the announcement. "The council should ask for opinions on different aspects, especially from the club investors, to ensure its fairness."
(China Daily 06/21/2012 page23)