SHANGHAI: The coronavirus-delayed Chinese Super League (CSL) season is scheduled to begin in late June or early July, a club chairman says. Suspended leagues across the world, including in Europe, will be watching the CSL with interest as an indicator of the challenges they face in relaunching their own competitions.
The campaign was supposed to start on February 22 but was indefinitely postponed by the pandemic, which emerged in China in December before spreading worldwide. “Based on the assessment of the current situation, the new season will start at the end of June or beginning of July,” said Guangzhou R&F chairman Huang Shenghua, according to state media.
Huang said that the season will be able to take place in full with each team playing the alloted 30 matches. The media reports did not indicate whether a formal announcement was expected from the Chinese Football Association.
China says that it has curbed coronavirus at home but is now concerned about a second wave of imported infections from people entering the country from overseas.
Marouane Fellaini, the former Manchester United midfielder, is the only known coronavirus case in the CSL. He was released from hospital last week and is under further observation, although he was not seriously ill. Meanwhile, the wealthy owners of Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande will build two stadiums with capacities of 80,000 each, in addition to the club’s new 100,000-seat home.
Chinese Super League (CSL) clubs are building or renovating a clutch of stadiums with the country set to host the newly expanded 2021 FIFA Club World Cup and AFC Asian Cup in 2023. But the rush on new arenas will also heighten speculation that China is gearing up for a bid to host the World Cup, possibly in 2030. Evergrande Group, a major property developer, has asked fans to pick their favourite designs for two more new stadiums.
“Evergrande plans to build two additional 80,000-seat football fields and invites everyone to recommend two of the six preliminary plans,” Guangzhou Evergrande’s owners said on social media. The statement did not give any further information such as where in China or when the stadiums would be built. CSL champions Guangzhou Evergrande, coached by Italian World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro, began work Thursday on their eye-catching new home.
Costing 12 billion yuan ($1.7 billion), it will be bigger than Barcelona’s famous Camp Nou and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2022. Evergrande Group’s founder is the billionaire Xu Jiayin, one of the richest men in China. – AFP