China News Service, Beijing, December 21 (Reporter Xing Chong) In 2020, Chinese football has experienced a very special year.

Affected by the epidemic, the Chinese Super League has implemented a competition system for the first time, completing 20 rounds of super-intensive schedules in three months. Coupled with the "adventure" AFC Champions League in Doha, Chinese football has experienced the "most special" season since its professionalization.

Data map: The opening ceremony of the 2020 Chinese Football Association Super League Suzhou Division.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Yang Bo

  Also affected by the epidemic, the survival of professional football clubs is in danger.

Catalyzed by the epidemic, Chinese football "smashed their wrists" at the end of the year: greatly restricting the salaries of team players, resolutely removing the club's corporate aliases, and using the "most severe" New Deal to try to burst the Chinese football bubble.

Hard restart

  As the top professional football match in China, the Chinese Super League, which was originally planned to start on February 22, was repeatedly studied and judged through various rematch plans, and it was not restarted until July 25.

Under the policy criteria of epidemic prevention first, the Chinese Super League has undergone various "transformations."

  For example, from the home and away system to the tournament system, 16 teams compete in groups in Suzhou and Dalian. It takes 66 days to complete 112 competitions in the first group stage alone; the rules of the game are different from the previous points system, the first stage The points are not brought into the second stage, and there is no point correlation between the multiple rounds of the second stage.

  In order to restart the competition, the Super League has formulated a very strict epidemic prevention plan: set up an absolute blue enclosed area, all personnel in the enclosed area will undergo monthly antibody testing and weekly nucleic acid testing, each team will set up an epidemic prevention liaison officer, and all express items After the killing, it will be distributed by a dedicated butler, and the players will leave the competition area after one epidemic prevention violation...

  The nearly stringent epidemic prevention system has escorted the restart of the league, but the high-intensity and ultra-intensive schedule has brought unprecedented physical and psychological pressure to players who can only play in the "anti-epidemic closed loop" for several months. In the later period, most teams "wounded with injuries", and conflict situations where players lost control of their emotions also frequently appeared.

  Affected by the epidemic, local referees have assumed the responsibility for most of the games this season, but the penalty criteria for penalty kicks, red and yellow cards, and VAR intervention have repeatedly caused controversy. The Chinese Football Association frankly admitted that the overall level of enforcement of local referees is compared with high-level international referees. There was a certain gap. Later, two Korean referees were invited to enforce the semi-finals, finals, relegation battles, play-offs and other key games, and the controversy gradually reduced.

  Since points are no longer determining the outcome, there have been many seemingly "unbelievable" results this season. Tianjin Teda, who has not won 14 rounds of the group stage and created the worst record in the history of the Chinese Super League, has become a victory with only a victory in the 16th round. The first team to succeed in relegation, Shijiazhuang Yongchang, who drew SIPG and Guoan in the group stage, was demoted due to poor performance in the second stage.

  If according to the points system, Shijiazhuang Yongchang ranked 11th with 22 points after 20 rounds and Tianjin TEDA ranked 16th with only 12 points, the fairness of the competition system will inevitably be questioned.

Also converted to the points system, the final winner of Jiangsu Suning scored 38 points, runner-up Guangzhou Evergrande scored 45 points, the championship team points less than the runner-up team, which is extremely rare in the history of the Super League.

AFC Champions League

  Under the Chinese Super League's epidemic prevention model, the Chinese League, Women's Super League, and the Football Association Cup competitions have been launched one after another. In the later period, fans were invited to the stadium to win widespread praise.

The most worth mentioning is that the four Chinese Super League teams have gone through various twists and turns to participate in the AFC Champions League in Doha, Qatar. This is one of the few Chinese sports teams that have gone overseas to compete this year.

  Affected by the epidemic, participating in the AFC is the only opportunity for Chinese football to play against other national teams this year. It is also a rare exercise for the top four in the Super League.

However, after the super-loaded Chinese Super League, they moved directly to the AFC Champions League. Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai Shenhua and Shanghai SIPG performed weakly. Fortunately, Beijing Guoan created the best team in history to advance to the quarter-finals, but from the Super League team The overall record is the worst in recent years.

  "AFC Champions League Adventures" is not only in the arena.

Due to the need for epidemic prevention, the players wore anti-epidemic suits for charter flights. After leaving the game, they were detained for many days waiting for the charter flight approval. They returned to China in mid-December, and they had to be quarantined for 14 days after arrival.

Next year, the league is expected to start in March, the club needs to start winter training in January, and the remaining players' rest time is also relatively limited.

  Although the restart of the league has disputes over the competition system and penalties, the suspension of the Super Four in Doha has also caused players to complain. However, it is undeniable that the continued development of professional leagues helps athletes maintain their competitive status and healthy and long-term development of sports. Under the strict anti-epidemic measures of Chinese football, no cases occurred during the game. The experience of Chinese football in the rematch attracted the AFC and other regional leagues to "learn from".


  Also affected by the epidemic, the survival of professional football clubs is in danger.

This year, 16 clubs at all levels of professional leagues withdrew or disbanded. Investors were unsustainable. The income of supported clubs also shrank significantly, and the integrity of the league was undermined.

  Under the pursuit of Jinyuan football, Chinese professional football clubs have long relied on corporate blood transfusions. In 2018, the average income was 686 million yuan, the average expenditure was 1.126 billion yuan, and the average loss was 440 million yuan.

  At the same time, it is an indisputable fact that the player's salary is deformed. The average salary of Chinese Super League players in 2019 is much higher than that of Japan and South Korea's top leagues. The average annual salary of Chinese Super League players is about 160 times the average income of Chinese residents that year, while the top leagues of Japan and South Korea They are about 8 times and 5.5 times the average income of local residents.

  The voice of salary limit has long been heard.

Catalyzed by the epidemic, Chinese football "broken their wrists" at the end of the year: the annual expenditure of Chinese Super League clubs does not exceed 600 million yuan, the single-season salary of first-line players does not exceed 5 million yuan before tax, and the annual salary of foreign aid does not exceed 3 million euros before tax. Need to remove the corporate name in the new season and focus on cultivating football culture.

  "The average investment of Chinese Super League clubs is more than three times that of the Japanese J-League and more than ten times that of the Korean K-League. These figures are shocking. Are our conscience dead?" said Chen Xuyuan, chairman of the Chinese Football Association. Jinyuan football erodes the body of healthy football. We must resolutely break the golden dollar football bubble.

  In 2015, the Chinese Football Association issued a football reform plan. In 2017, it promulgated the "2020 Action Plan". However, at present, the national team, the Olympic team, the national youth team, and the national youth team have not achieved the set goals: the 2019 Asian Cup is not yet reached. To enter the semi-finals, the world ranking did not reach the goal of entering the top 70; the national Olympic group failed to make it to the Tokyo Olympics, and the national youth and national youth teams all failed to qualify for the U20 and U17 World Cup finals.

It can be seen that the systematic backwardness of Chinese football has not fundamentally changed.

  Last week, the Chinese Football Association announced further measures to promote football reform, setting a new concise and pragmatic goal for the national team: the men’s national team strives to reach the first-class level in Asia, fully prepares for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers and the 2023 Asian Cup, and strives New breakthrough.

  However, can the "strictest salary limit" under the epidemic save Chinese football?

  With the introduction of the New Deal, major clubs will inevitably reduce the introduction of big-name foreign aid. The appreciation of the Chinese Super League and the international competitiveness of Chinese Super League teams are bound to be compromised in a short time.

The redemption of Chinese football is a complicated and arduous process, but there is no doubt that Chinese football needs reform, and reform also needs to move towards deep water.