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October 17, 2019

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CFA to hand control of professional league to clubs

Control of the Chinese Super League, China’s top-tier football league, is being handed over by the Chinese Football Association to the clubs in an effort to encourage its commercial development.

A league committee will be formed by the end of 2019 to oversee the operation of the country’s professional football pyramid, the CFA confirmed at a press conference in Beijing yesterday.

CFA Secretary General Liu Yi disclosed that the new organization would take over the day-to-day running of the CSL and lower divisions from the CFA itself, adding that the association will relinquish its shareholding of the CSL holding company.

“In the future, the CSL should operate as an independent and market-oriented corporation like the Premier League in England,” said Liu. “The CFA would no longer be involved in the day-to-day operation of the league, instead functioning as a supervisory body.”

“The CFA will no longer act as a shareholder of the professional league. The CFA remains entitled to the ownership and supervision rights of the CSL, but the likes of management and operations will be devolved to the professional league committee,” he revealed.

The change is part of reforms promised by CFA President Chen Xuyuan in August.

“The CSL and lower leagues have been rapidly developing in recent years, but our professional leagues are still facing a huge crisis. The healthy development of professional leagues is the cornerstone of Chinese football. Clubs need to be financially independent. We are far from that,” Chen told Xinhua in an exclusive interview after he was elected CFA president.

Chen added that his vision was for it to operate like the English Premier League or Spain’s La Liga, where member clubs are shareholders, with the CFA operating in a less direct, supervisory role.

“The president of the professional league will be nominated and selected by the 16 clubs,” Liu noted yesterday, adding that while the CFA would be responsible for the selection of the president, the professional league itself would be responsible for hiring other staff members.

“We estimate that the professional league could be established by the end of the year,” he added.


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