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In the Chinese Super League, everyone seems to lose

At least 37-year-old Miranda was able to continue his career: he quickly landed a place – and a rich new contract – at São Paulo, a team playing in the Brazilian Premier League. Such an outcome is unlikely for the dozens of Chinese nationals who have not been paid or have been fired by their clubs in recent months.

“These are players who have very little access to the international market,” said Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, general secretary of FIFPro, the global players’ union. “If their clubs go bankrupt, the chances of finding a job as a footballer are very slim. So that effectively puts them out of work.

The outlook for the Chinese league is unclear. The market for leading foreign players and their willingness to go to China amid the stories of unpaid wages has disappeared. And the fate of clubs and others who work in China’s football economy remains at the whim of local football officials, known to frequently and abruptly change the rules, and the financial health of major league investors, usually real estate companies, which has led the league to be known colloquially as the real estate league instead of the Super League.

Surely the days of mind-blowing salaries are over. Carlos Tevez, a forward, has already earned $ 40 million for a single unproductive season from Shanghai Shenhua, a team owned by real estate company Greenland Group. Top Brazilian players like the Hulk and Oscar received mind-blowing salaries, but others cashed in as well: at one point, the salary of Darío Conca, a little-known Argentine striker, would have made him the third highest-paid player in the world. world.

In recent years, the league has attempted to curb rampant overspending by issuing new rules, including a tax on imports and limits on foreign players. He also introduced regulations this season prohibiting companies from linking their brands to those of teams they owned, forcing companies like Evergrande and Greenland to reluctantly rename their clubs.

“It’s a very bad situation, and it will take some time to adjust,” said Wu, the sports lawyer.

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