Tue 17 Jan by Mark Gleeson
CHINA TO CUT FOREIGN SLOTS
The Chinese Football Association has confirmed the introduction of new regulations that will further limit the number of overseas players able to appear in domestic matches, amid concerns that clubs are over-spending on importing talent. Clubs in the top-tier Super League (CSL) and China League One will be limited to fielding a maximum of three foreign players per game for the 2017 season. For the past few seasons, a ‘3+1’ rule has been utilised, meaning clubs could field three foreigners plus a fourth player from another Asian country at any one time. A fifth foreigner could be named on the bench and introduced into the play, as long as the 3+1 rule was adhered to. China’s President, Xi Jinping, is an avid football fan who is keen to develop the sport in the country and Super League clubs have invested heavily in marquee signings in recent months in a bid to raise the league’s profile.
SUPER LONG PSL SEASON
The Premier Soccer League have extended the end of the season to June 17 and pushed the Nedbank Cup final out a week later as they try to cram the remaining fixtures into the 2016/17 campaign following a raft of postponements and stopping the programme for the African Nations Cup.
The season was originally scheduled to finish on May 27, but due to the knock-on effect, as well as well as Nations Cup qualifiers in early June, will now only conclude on June 17.
The Nedbank Cup final will be on June 24.
EXPANDED WORLD CUP ‘POLITICAL’
Despite losing the battle over FIFA’s decision to expand the World Cup finals, the European Club Association (ECA) says it is still vehemently opposed to the idea. The ECA was represented on the FIFA Council that agreed the ground-breaking move but was unable to prevent expansion to 48 teams from 2026 and has had to admit defeat – though not before accusing FIFA and by association Gianni Infantino of playing politics
“The European Club Association reiterates that it is in principle not in favour of an expanded World Cup,” said a brief statement. “We fail to see the merits to changing the current format of 32 that has proven to be the perfect formula from all perspectives. Questionable is also the urgency in reaching such an important decision, with nine years to go until it becomes applicable, without the proper involvement of stakeholders who will be impacted by this change.”