China Transfer Window (Finally) opens

Chinese Super League News

Today, Chinese Football Association announced the provision of the transfer windows for the three top tiers of Chinese football and the immediate opening of the winter window, heralding a further step towards the new season.


Multiple Delays

As with last season’s winter window, which was delayed three times, this year’s transfer window was first earmarked to open on 16 Jan, but only to be delayed on the day to 1 Feb. And on the first day of the second month, it was announced that it would be further postponed to 20th. And shortly before the 20th, it was again pushed back without specifying a new proposal. Two days later, all were let out of the floodgates.


Just like last year, the delay was caused by the uncertainty of which teams would survive the financial troubles they were experiencing and nobody was sure how many, and which teams, would be in each tier of the league structure.


As Wuhan Yangtze announced its decision to disband, and Xinjiang Tianshan Leopard to ‘propose to disband’, more teams are understandably having difficulties being licensed to enter the league they are entitled to play in. In some extreme cases, teams can’t acquire any kind of license at all, which would force them into the crematorium.


The decision


But for teams that has less of this issue, they can now prepare the new season with just a little more clarity, and teams that have already signed new players can now register them.


The winter window will run from now to 7 April for CSL and League 1 teams and League 2 clubs will have another week as their window won’t close until 14 April. The summer window is set to (provisionally) run from the beginning to the end of July.


The quota for signing new domestic players has been removed, so clubs that would have survived may be able to keep the number of the unemployed low. The restrictions usually were that one team could only sign 7 or 8 players a year so no big upheaval can happen in the transfer market to tip the entire league off balance (looking at you, Chelsea).


However, the number of foreign players a club could sign is still limited. At the end of the winter transfer window, a CSL team can only have registered 6 foreign (ex-HK, Macau, Taiwan) players and at the of summer only 7 in total could have been registered. The corresponding number for League 1 is 3 and 4 players.


Naturalised players with grandparents or parents born on the mainland or eligible to play for the national team will be recognised as native players, in accordance with FIFA rules and treament in the previous seasons. The same goes for Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwanese players. They need to possess the right of adobe at the jurisdiction they represent at birth or made first registration with their Football Association. Otherwise they are counted as foreigners.


Just in case that a club might go bust after they have signed new players, as Chongqing Liangjiang Athletic has done last year, clubs are prevented from registering new players before they have acquired the entry license. The Football Association had to create a mini-window last year for players who became teamless after Chongqing’s disbanding, which happened after the closure of the transfer windown. This year they want it out the window as a precaution.