Member clubs will only be allowed to have a maximum of three foreign talents on the field. (Photo : Getty Images)
The Chinese Football Association has laid out a new rule concerning the number of foreign players allowed in domestic matches, according to an article by China Daily. The rule, which was released on Monday, January 16, is expected to promote local talent.
"Clubs have been investing irrationally in foreign stars, with staggering transfer fees and salaries, while neglecting the cultivation of homegrown players," the Chinese Football Association stated.
"The new regulation will provide more opportunities for local players as well as helping to regulate clubs' financial operations."
According to the new regulation, member clubs in the China League One and the Chinese Super League will only be allowed to have a maximum of three foreign talents on the field. It will take into effect as the new football season in early March starts.
In addition to the limit on foreign players, clubs must have at least two local players under 23 as a part of their 18-member matchday squad. One Chinese player must be included in the starting lineup.
Meanwhile, CSL clubs are still allowed to register a maximum of five foreigners in their matchday squad.
For people like Fan Zhiyi, the new rule will stimulate the development of homegrown talent.
"The new rule offers inspiration for young Chinese players," Fan, a former national team captain, told China Daily.
Football commentator Meng Hongtao, who used to speak for the Chinese national women's team, echos the same sentiments.
"The heavy reliance on foreign players has crowded out homegrown players, preventing them from maturing through adequate playing time. The new policy is a reasonable way to curb this negative trend," Meng said.
Other fans and insiders, however, have different views.
"It goes against the nature of the game that players earn their place in the starting lineup based on their competency," Qin Sheng, a defensive midfielder who plays for Shanghai Greenland Shenhua, wrote on social media.
"Developing domestic talent should be a step-by-step process, not something that is achieved through administrative interference."