For months I feel like I couldn’t go two minutes without writing an article about China, the Chinese Super League and whichever player was the latest linked with a move there. Finally today the season kicked off but not to much fanfare.
In the months since last season finished in China and with Carlos Tevez, Oscar, Axel Witsel, Odion Ighalo and a few others have left the confines of some of the world’s most prestigious leagues to join the Chinese footballing revolution.
Today the season kicked off with Guizhou Zhicheng hosting Liaoning Whowin at the Guiyang Olympic Sports Center. They aren’t two of the biggest clubs in the league but you might have expected it to be a sell out.
But despite Guizhou Zhicheng celebrating being in the CSL, after promotion last season, the league opened to a crowd of just 16 spectators!
However the CSL is far from a badly attended league, it’s not like when a player moves to Dubai and ends up playing in front of about 10 people, there’s usually an average of around 20,000 people at CSL matches.
So why only 16 people at the game?
Well after the home team’s fans flooded onto the pitch on the last day of last season, when their team won promotion to the top league in China the Chinese FA gave them a one game stadium ban.
Chinese clubs spent an incredible £331 million during their recent transfer window, which only closed last Tuesday. The Premier League only spent £236 million in January and a chunk of that was recouped in Oscar’s transfer to China.
The match finished 1-1 and they’ll be more spectators next time the two clubs meet.