CSL club owners voice firm support for salary cap

Owners of Chinese Super League sides have voiced their support for the Chinese Football Association’s introduction of a salary cap for the upcoming 2020 season.

Aiming to curb excessive spending by CSL clubs, the policy dictates that domestic players’ annual salaries will be restricted to 10 million yuan (US$1.45 million) before tax, while annual salaries for foreign players must not exceed 3 million euros (US$3.33 million) after tax.

Li Ming, general manager of Beijing Guoan FC, says the policy will be beneficial to teams’ long-term development. “Having a salary cap can help teams develop more sustainably. Regulations are necessary in a professional environment.”

Li added: “The Chinese Football Association really values our opinions. They spent all day with us discussing how to make this new policy viable. It was the first time something like this has happened since I became manager of Guoan six years ago. I like how down-to-earth the current CFA people are.”

Wu Xiaohui, chairman of the board of Shanghai Greenland Shenhua, agreed with Li. “They didn’t try to push anything that we found hard to enforce. The CFA took our advice seriously.”

With different teams operating on different scales, it is likely some clubs may have a harder time adjusting to the salary cap. Li noted that this new policy will cause him some difficulty, as he will now have to work with a smaller budget.

However, many of the league’s smaller teams are in favor of the salary cap as it would not affect their finances so drastically. Yang Nan, chairman of the board of Henan Jianye, claimed he would only need to make adjustments to a few domestic players’ contracts.

“Smaller football clubs can’t function if they lose billions of yuan each year. I think having a salary cap can benefit us in the long run,” he said.

Other new CFA policies for 2020 unveiled on Wednesday include allowing teams to have four international players on the field at the same time, up from the current three. The CFA hopes it will improve the quality of the matches and help domestic players become more competitive.

Officials have routinely sought to curb excessive spending in the CSL after a major outlay on foreign stars ahead of the 2017 season saw the arrival of players such as Brazilian star Oscar and Carlos Tevez from Argentina on huge salaries.

Later that year, a 100 percent levy was placed on transfers valued at over 45 million yuan involving foreign players while the same condition was imposed on domestic moves worth more than 20 million yuan.

Money has poured into Chinese football from the country’s private sector in the last few years.

Wales international Gareth Bale was the latest global superstar to be linked with a move to China following his falling out with Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane. That transfer to Jiangsu Suning fell through before the closure of the transfer window last summer.

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