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July 9, 2020

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CFA unveils detailed CSL season rules

The Chinese Football Association has announced more detailed rules for the 2020 Chinese Super League season, which is set to kick off in Suzhou, eastern Jiangsu Province; and Dalian, northeastern Liaoning Province, on July 25.

Given the new competition format for a season delayed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, relegation rules were one of the most discussed topics. Normally, two CSL teams are relegated after each season.

According to the CFA, the last-ranked CSL team of the 2020 season will be relegated to the second-tier Chinese League One. The second-last ranked team will take on the Chinese League One runner-up in a one-match playoff, with the winner getting a spot in the top-tier league in 2021.

The 16 teams will be divided into two groups for first-stage matches in Suzhou and Dalian. Fourteen rounds and a total of 112 matches will be played during the first-stage competition from July 25 to September 28.

Dates and regulations for second-stage matches will be announced later.

The CFA also announced anti-pandemic measures for players and other people involved in the league.

All CSL team members are required to undergo nucleic acid tests twice before entering the designated hotels of the host cities. The hotels will be closed to the public. All athletes, coaches and referees, including hotel staff, will be barred from leaving restricted areas during the two-month competition. Nucleic acid tests will be conducted on a weekly basis.

Each team can register 23 players and make five substitutions in each match.

Some CSL teams are still missing their foreign players, stuck outside China due to pandemic travel restrictions. To create a fairer competition, the CFA has set additional rules on the use of foreign players.

Each team can send at most four foreign players for one match. But if a team has no foreign players back, its opponent will be allowed to use two foreign players at most. If a team has only one foreign player available, its opponent can send at most three foreign players for the match.

The players don’t have to wear masks on the pitch. But it is mandatory for unregistered players and other staff watching from the stands to wear masks.

Shanghai Greenland Shenhua will join CSL defending champion Guangzhou Evergrande in Group A in Dalian. Shanghai SIPG will lead Group B along with Beijing Guoan in Suzhou. Detailed match schedules will be announced later.


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