Chinese FA reduces limit on foreign players

A statement said the new measures will address "irrational investments".

Teams in the cash-rich Chinese Super League will only be able to name three of their foreign stars in starting XIs this season after the Chinese Football Association confirmed an amendment to its competition rules - prompted in part by "recent irrational club investment for domestic and worldwide player transfer fees".

Diego Costa is the latest to be linked with a lucrative move to the Far East, with the likes of Carlos Tevez, Oscar and Axel Witsel all completing transfers to the Chinese Super League in recent weeks.

The CFA wants its Super League clubs to trade independently of cash influxes from rich owners "and enhance their management and operational capabilities to ensure long-term stable development of the professional league for the Chinese football to make a positive contribution".

Other rules announced by the CFA appeared firmly aimed at addressing the lack of opportunities for Chinese players.

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Memphis guard Mike Conley hit a game-tying jumper with under 10 seconds to play in regulation. Durant had 27 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks for Golden State (31-6).

In early January Chinese authorities rebuked the country's leading clubs for "burning money" in their signing of foreign stars to the detriment of local talent.

China last month broke the Asian transfer record for the fifth time in a year when Shanghai SIPG paid Chelsea 60 million euros for Brazilian midfielder Oscar.

Under new rules, teams must play at least one Chinese under-23 player per match and have at least two in their matchday squads of 18.

Clubs would still be able to register five foreign players in their overall squad, the CFA said, but the rule would mean not all could be used in any one game, a potential disincentive to loading a squad with global imports.

Big business backers of CSL clubs, encouraged by football fan President Xi Jinping's vision of China becoming one of the game's superpowers, hosting and winning a World Cup, have splashed money on their teams alongside heavy investment in grass-roots development.

  • Lawrence Cooper