The revolution of Chinese football
In 2012 we were talking about the situation of football in China and how the chinese football can help brands. Today we will see, what are the changes compare to 2012.
Unlimited financial means
China has seen its number of millionaires grow in recent years. Some of them are real football fans! Of the 16 best-known clubs in China, private companies own 14.
These rich Chinese owners do not hesitate to get out their checkbook to attract international stars. Chinese super league ranks among the top ten spending the most money for foreign players. So in 2012, we have seen on Chinese lawns Concas, Anelka, Drogba, Kanute, Yakubu, Keita, Barrios or Perrea.
But this is definitely the Guangzhou Evergrande club which do the best investment by recruiting the Italian coach Marcello Lippi for an annual salary of 10 million euros. Putting the ego of the players to the locker room, he gave them the access to the position of Champion at the Cup of China in 2012. To stay ahead in the standings, the club is now looking to find new talent Chinese because it must have good local players to pass the ball to the international stars! However, even if the club is performing well, the enthusiasm of the Chinese for their championship is missing…
The failure of the revolution of football in China
If the financial resources of Chinese football clubs seem limitless, it seems that a checkbook is not enough to produce a championship. Where is the Eldorado of which we spoke in 2012?…Today the finding of failure is appeared for several reasons:
• The instability of Chinese clubs
The instability of Chinese clubs is not conducive to the development of a football culture.
Clubs frequently change of owners wishing all bring their personal touch: to change names, cities of residence, change logos, color club jersey … How can he get results in the long term with such changes?
In addition, this instability is far from attracting popular enthusiasm because despite the huge investments of the 2012 season, the Chinese Super League ended with an average attendance of 18,000 spectators (ie only 6% growth compared to last year).
• Problems of training
For the majority of clubs, training young local players is not a priority. The football schools are less important than foreign stars in terms of investment: They are too few and not efficient enough to form new local talent. Most Chinese league players have not acquired the physical, technical and tactical that we can find in Europe and high performances depend too foreign stars.
• The repeatedly corruption scandals
The image of football in China is tainted by three years of scandals that have partly emptied the stands of stadiums..
In 2009, China has embarked on a large-scale fight against corruption in football. Since the accusations abound and more scandals appear: dozens of referees, club officials, coaches and players have been accused of participating in a vast network of match fixing and illegal bet. Some positions in the national team have been sold to few players.
In 2012, two former presidents of the Chinese Football Association, Nan Yong and Xie Yalong, were sentenced to ten and a half years in prison for accepting bribes, and rigged games. They must also pay a fine of 200,000 yuan (25,000 euros).
The former director of the national team, Wei Shaohui, was also sentenced to ten years in prison for similar reasons. The same goes for the former head of the Referees Committee of the Chinese Football Association, Li Dongsheng, who was sentenced to nine years in prison for embezzlement.
Four former international players, Shen Si, Qi Hong, Jiang Jin and Li Ming, was sentenced to more than five years of imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 yuan (62,650 euros) for allowing their team to lose a game in 2003. They touched a total of 8 million yuan (1.1 million euros).
More recently, heavy fines and points handicap for next season of Chinese Super League have been attributed to several clubs including the famous Shanghai Shenhua and Tianjin Teda. The latter is also deprived of his national title won in 2003.
• A quick disappointing Eldorado
The huge salaries do not seem to compensate for the low sporting challenge and all changes that causes the expatriation in China. In addition, the instability of clubs is not reassuring, some players back on their choice…
Thus, the sudden departure of Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba sounds like a fiasco in China. They have evolved less than a year in the championship in the club Shanghai Shenhua before leaving the country for Anelka and Drogba FC Juventus for Galatasaray.
A disagreement between Zhu Jun, the owner of Shanghai Shenhua and its shareholders is the cause of their departure. Holding 28.5% stake in the club, he wants to have 70% that it was promised when he arrived at the club in 2007. Shareholders refusing to sell their shares, the billionaire simply does not pay the wages of the players
Hope for Chinese Football
The new Chinese President Xi Jinping raises many hopes. Football fan, he has big ambitions for this sport. Its objective is that China organizes the World Cup in 2026 after Brazil in 2014, Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022. In addition, it aims to establish an ambitious sports development policy to try to make the Chinese team one of the titleholders.
A second hope to raise football in China is the arrival of David Beckham. The new star of the Paris Saint-Germain is now the ambassador of the Chinese Super League.
Its mission is to popularize the sport among young people: “It’s as simple as that I’m not here to clean up the reputation of the chinese football, I’m here to educate children and give them a chance to become professional footballers” At he said at a press conference in China, Thursday, March 21.
“His arrival will attract international attention to the Chinese football and his personal commitment to help Chinese football to become more international,” said CSL.
To conclude, football in China is still in its infancy. The fight against corruption by the government demonstrates its willingness to create and develop a healthy structure. The question is : Did China will be able to host the Football World Cup in 2026?