Wild spending by Chinese Super League clubs -- including massive deals for Oscar
and Carlos Tevez
by rival Shanghai clubs -- has to stop.
That warning isn't coming from
European officials, fearful of the inflationary pressure on transfer fees and salaries, but from the Chinese Sports General Administration, which issued a statement on Thursday that it will
“regulate and restrain high-priced signings, and make reasonable restrictions on players’ high incomes."
The statement accusing clubs of "burning money" comes a month after an
editorial by the ruling Communist Party’s official newspaper, the People’s Daily, critical of the spending by Super League clubs on foreign players and coaches had reached almost $500
The irony, of course, is that the boom was triggered when Chinese president Xi Jinping
, a big soccer fan, supported efforts to transform the country into great soccer
power. At the grassroots level, that has meant the investment of huge sums in soccer schools. But national and internationally, Chinese investors have been encouraged to center their sports and entertainment portfolios
on soccer properties.
Reuters quoted an unnamed official
as saying concerns were centered on "large scale overseas acquisitions, the grave
phenomenon of clubs burning money, salaries that are too high for foreign players, not attaching importance to youth training, and only emphasizing short-term achievements and neglecting long-term
To attack the problem, the Sports General Administration is looking at imposing caps on transfer fees and limit fees paid to agents and brokers for facilitating agreements
-- wasted money it wants directed to youth development.
Bloomberg also reported
that the Sports General Administration's warning isn't just limited to
domestic spending, suggesting it will take aim at overseas soccer spending.
What European clubs gain from an easing of the inflationary pressure on salaries and transfer fees might be
offset by reduced Chinese investment in struggling European clubs that has been termed
Chinese investors have bought or attempted to buy majority or minority positions in a host of European clubs, including Manchester City, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid.
acquisition of Alex Morgan
coincided with a deal club president Jean-Michel Aulas
reached with China's IDG Capital to invest 100 million euros ($120 million) into Lyon in
return for a 20 percent interest in the club.
Investment in smaller European clubs has come as a lifesaver, allowing them to pay off or restructure debt. Without it, the soccer bubble
economy could burst.