A rise of investment by Chinese clubs has seen players such as Argentine's Carlos Tevez, Brazil's Oscar, and Nigeria's Mikel Obi make big-money transfers to China over the last month. Oscar's transfer from English Premier League side, Chelsea FC is the biggest football deal to the country.
The CFA said in a statement that clubs in the top-tier Super League (CSL) and China League One will be limited to fielding a maximum of three foreign players per game for the 2017 season. For the past few seasons, a ‘3+1’ rule has been utilised, meaning clubs could field three foreigners plus a fourth player from another Asian country at any one time. A fifth foreigner could be named on the bench and introduced into the play, as long as the 3+1 rule was adhered to.
The Wild East Football website noted that a previous rule change was agreed to recently between the CSL and its clubs which would retain the 3+1 rule for the upcoming 2017 season, but restrict clubs from naming their fifth foreign player on the bench. The agreement was intended to transition into 2018 when teams would be limited to four foreign players, instead of five.
Earlier this month, a spokesman for China’s General Administration of Sport (GAS) stated his belief that salary caps should be introduced to limit escalating spending by clubs.
According to the association, teams would also have to include two younger domestic players born in or after 1994 in their match day squad, of whom one would have to start the game.