Chinese professional soccer leagues to face salary cut

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Cao Yang, a player from Tianjin Teda prepares a spot-kick during a game, on Dec 2, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Chinese Super League, along with the country's second and third-tier soccer leagues, will have to accept a salary cut, as Chinese professional soccer is facing financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chinese Football Association hosted an online conference with representatives from all three tiers of professional soccer clubs on Thursday when all parties agreed on players' salary cuts.

"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all levels of Chinese professional leagues had to postpone their 2020 season, which have brought financial difficulties to the clubs and their investors," read a CFA announcement on Wednesday.

"There are strong voices of easing clubs' pressure and reasonably reducing players' salary… After a thorough discussion, in principle, all representatives agreed on a salary cut that will be imposed after negotiations between clubs and players. The salary cut period should be counted from March31 till the start of 2020 season."

The CFA has not revealed the details of the salary cut plan, saying that the specific plan will be made by a working group of representatives from the CFA, clubs, players, coaches and legal experts.

The Chinese soccer governing body said it will continuously communicate with all professional clubs during the process. In the meantime, the CFA stressed once again all clubs should focus on epidemic prevention work to ensure the health of all players and staff. It also urged everyone in the Chinese soccer community to unite and work together in this difficult time.

"In terms of the salary cut issue, the CFA has communicated many times with and earned support from FIFA," the CFA announcement said.

Before the CFA's Wednesday meeting, several clubs in different tiers have been reporting financial problems, such as CSL side Tianjin Tianhai.

As another example, investing more to guarantee a better performance should be a reasonable option for a club like Qingdao Huanghai that's been promoted to the CSL from the second-tier China League One this season. However, spending big is now nearly impossible with so many uncertainties before the start of the 2020 season.

"For the past few seasons, our club had been one of those who invested the most in the China League One. Each year we invested at least 100 million yuan ($14 million)," said Wang Dong, midfielder for Qingdao .

"Now under such circumstances, it's not easy for any club. This will be a tough year for us. I hope our team can work hard to avoid being relegated from the CSL this season."

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