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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Asian Leagues

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China cracks down on foreign players

China has cut the number of foreign players allowed to play in each football match from four to three per team, although five will be allowed in the match day squad (one has to be Asian).   There will also have to be one Chinese player under 23 on the pitch.

Has Chinese spending got out of hand?

Soocer economics guru Stefan Szymanski thinks that, among the Asian nations, China is most likely to produce a globally competitive soccer league in the next decade.   That is because it is following the European model: spend, spend, spend.

Oscar sale could suggest weakness rather than strength

The sale of Oscar to Shanghai SIPG represents good business for Chelsea given what seems to be an inflated price, but it has led to fears that it could result in a more general exodus of Premier League players.   It might also seem to suggest a growing role for China in world football.

How sustainable is Chinese football?

The money being poured into Chinese football is one of the biggest stories of the last few months.  It has changed the global financial balance of the game.    Chinese Super League clubs spent $280m in the winter transfer window, more than the Premier League.   The services of leading players have been secured, rather than fading stars as in the past.

But how sustainable is this trend?   It is largely driven politically by the ambitions of President Xi Jinping to make China a world football power.

Chinese clubs splash out

Chinese clubs have had their biggest spending winter.  They are responsible for three of the four biggest deals in the January window.   They spent more money per player than any other country in the transfer window and are expected to end up second in the table of total spending.

Politics and economics are drivers in Chinese football

A combination of politics and economics are driving increased interest in football in China and the involvement of Chinese investors in European football.   Underlying both drivers are an increasingly prosperous and urbanised population seeking leisure and entertainment  and new sources of identity.   It's a classic case of political economy, the interaction of states and markets.

City may buy Chinese club

Manchester City's owners are exploring the possibility of buying a Chinese club as part of their global expansion plans.   As well as bringing commercial benefits, it could also be a talent pool for young players.

China is considered a difficult market to navigate and owning a club there would help that process.  The club will also benefit from its new partnership with China Media Capital (CMC) and CITIC Capital. Ruigang Li, the CMC Chairman and one of China's leading media barons, is to join the City Football Group board.

Indian game offers opportunities for Premier League

India remains football's greatest untapped market.  The just-completed first competition of the Indian Super League IISL) could offer a growth market for clubs such as Chelsea and Manchester City.

The Premier League has been advising the ISL.  Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore forecasts, 'If the Indian League keeps doing well, then a number of top English clubs are going to strike strategic partnerships with teams here, and perhaps even take ownership stakes.'

Football is the global business

Today's Financial Times devotes one of its special supplements to the business of football which makes a change from features on countries one has scarcely heard of.  The Pink 'Un asserts that football is the global business.

It quotes football economics guru Stefan Szymanski who says that 'It's one of the few games that doesn't have a specific cultural affinity.  Szymanski argues that 'Rugby and cricket are so British' for which one might substitute the British Commonwealth and add in Argentina and Italy for rugby.  

Indian Super League gets ready for launch

India's new football Super League is getting ready for its launch on October 12th.  It hopes to give Indian Premier League cricket a run for its money.

India is seen as one of the world's last great untapped football markets.   The ten week league hopes to harness growing interest in the game.  There is already a strong following in West Bengal, Assam and Goa. The games will be screened on the Star India TV network.