Chinese Super League clubs are set to face new restrictions on their use of foreign players.
The Chinese Football Association (CFA) has issued a draft proposal on cutting the maximum number of non-Asian players allowed in CSL clubs’ squads from four to three.
Presently, teams are allowed four foreign players, plus one other non-Chinese player from an AFC nation – a system known as 4+1.
If the changes are enacted, that would fall to three foreign stars, plus the one other Asian player from outside China – a 3+1 system.
The proposal – which would bring the CSL in line with rules for the AFC Champions League – would see China’s top-flight clubs limited to having three overseas players in their matchday squads.
A string of big-name stars have moved to China in recent transfer windows, with Chelsea and Brazil attacking midfielder Oscar the latest – he will join Shanghai SIPG in a £60million move next month.
Boca Juniors and Argentina striker Carlos Tevez, meanwhile, is considering a move to Shanghai Shenhua that would make him the world’s best-paid player.
Those signings would add to the likes of Hulk, Jackson Martinez and Alex Teixeira, all of whom are already playing in China after making high-profile moves.
However, the new rules – aimed at improving the development of China’s own players – are expected to be passed and would take effect from the 2017 CSL season, which starts in March.
“There has been a growing concern in society on the investment of Chinese soccer clubs following the influx of high-quality foreign players,” read the CFA’s statement.
“The arrival of these top-class players will no doubt improve the standard of the league, making it more exciting to watch.
“But at the same time it will also increase the financial burden of clubs and reduce the opportunity of home-grown talent.
“For the sake of long-term development of professional clubs in China, the association would like to set up a system based on the financial requirements for clubs and also implement the adjustment on the foreign-player quota.”
Clubs must respond to the proposal by December 29.