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China to curb spending on foreign soccer players, club acquisitions

By Du Juan | | Updated: 2017-01-06 13:27
China to curb spending on foreign soccer players, club acquisitions

Brazilian international midfielder Oscar arrives in Shanghai on January 2, 2017 to join the Shanghai SIPG club. [Photo/IC]

China will regulate and curtail expensive signings of foreign talent by soccer clubs and put in place reasonable restrictions on players' incomes, a spokesperson of the General Administration of Sport said Thursday.

The country will set a ceiling on the number of foreign players in a team and on their salary, said the spokesperson, in an effort to cool the red-hot market for foreign soccer talent and foreign club acquisition with the rapid development of Chinese soccer, National Business Daily reported Friday.

This is definitely a good thing, as squandering money on hiring foreign players benefits no parties, according to a person with a Chinese Super League club in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. The restriction will help curb bubbles and help develop a healthy market, said the person.

In recent years, Chinese have invested in top leagues around the world, including English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A and French Football League, according to preliminary statistics released by the daily.

Chinese soccer clubs have hit the headlines on a regular basis in recent years because of their big spending on some of the world's top soccer players and coaches.

Chelsea star Oscar's recent move to Shanghai SIPG eclipsed the $55 million fee the club paid for fellow Brazilian, Hulk. The figures cited in British media reports would make Oscar the world's highest paid player earning about $490,760 a week.

After Oscar, Carlos Tevez, the Argentine international who is currently playing for Boca Juniors in Buenos Aires, will reportedly become the highest-paid player in the world after joining Shanghai Shenhua. Reports said the 32-year-old striker could sign a two-year contract on $762,000 a week.

However, high investment doesn't translate into high earnings. The Chinese Super League reported a loss of $670 million in the latest season, according to a report by Oceans Sports, a third-party data firm in Beijing, released in December 2016.

Due to this kind of unreasonable investment, "insolvent clubs must be eliminated from the professional league," said the spokesperson of the General Administration of Sport.

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