Explaining The Chinese Super League Transfer Policy

An explosion in Chinese Super League transfers has taken place during the past year. Chinese clubs have been buying players like Ramires and Oscar for a total of £72 million.

Suddenly, there seems to be a new global football power forming.

But the main issue that arises is the sheer amount of investment this league is making. Fans all over the world question the ethics of setting up an “import” league, buying the best talent for top dollar.

Explaining The Chinese Super League Transfer Policy

The main two reasons for such expenditure is that, firstly, football was never a large part of Chinese culture. Secondly, this new league has to compete with the gargantuan Western leagues with their huge pool of players and capital.

Forging A Football Culture

If there wasn’t a football culture in China, then who decided to encourage the growth of it? This is primarily down to the President of China, Xi Jingping, whose state-invested football project aims to develop a national side capable of winning the World Cup by 2050.

This ambitious project relies on instilling a football culture. China is a vast country, with over 1.3 billion people. This is a vast pool to draw potential world-class players from. But, unlike football-centric countries such as England, for example, access to such population is limited. Also, take into account the gender imbalance in the country, which further reduces that figure.

Therefore, to encourage a football culture, there has to be some incentive. An incentive to begin a football career, but also incentives to encourage the growth of a fanbase. By signing mega-stars, it provides the opportunity for this to occur. Suddenly, Chinese players could be playing alongside Champions League-capped players. The fans can see some absolutely brilliant talent too. This stirs demand and shapes a new culture, and a tradition of football in society.

Catching Up With the West

Building a new football culture is very much linked to catching up with the Western football leagues. By getting the population behind the sport, China could harness this potential to rake in gate fees, shirt sales and sponsorships.

However, whilst many fans may see China as an industrious country, with a vast amount of products being “Made in China”, this is a very neglectful representation of the country. Just under half of the population live in the countryside, and much of that population live in poverty. This again brings up a massive ethical question. Why is the President spending so much on a sport, whilst neglecting those in poverty?

Perhaps football is a policy of catching up with the West in terms of industry and cultural development. Maybe all the expenditure into the league will pay off in the future. After all, football is a worldwide game and it does generate massive revenue. If China could catch up and compete with the West, they will also compete for this revenue. In turn, this could potentially allow for the reduction of rural poverty.

But, it is sadly more likely that football will be an intensifier. This means that the rich will be getting richer and the poor reaching newly-impoverished lows. Whilst the Chinese government may gain access to another major revenue source, the rural peoples may never see this money invested in them.


Overall, Chinese football is definitely growing. A culture of football is slowly being established into society. As a result, steps are being taken in catching up with Western football. The ethics and economics of such massive transfer sums make for dismal reading.

Football, it seems, is just another way of funding an elitist government. One that neglects the poor.

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