I know what you’re thinking – what a stupid headline. When is Chinese football ever talked about without reference to money? Whilst that is undeniably true, think of this headline as an indicator that the past few days has seen the emergence of news stories that are even more focused on cash than usual! See, this isn’t a round-up of the usual speculation that a certain CSL side has made a record bid for *insert name of world-class player*; there’ll be plenty of time for that over the next few months. Instead, I’ll be bringing you up to date on recent events that have seen an even more blatant showboating of yuan, with the first story proving that you don’t even need to be of CSL standard to earn mega money playing football in China.
Meixian Techand players receive £3 million bonus EACH
Unless you live in China and follow domestic football very closely, the chances are you won’t have heard of Meixian Techand until this week. Images of their players posing next to stacks of cash have been appearing all over the internet in recent days following some bonuses they received for managing promotion to the Chinese second tier. That’s right, they’ve gone from the Chinese equivalent of League One to the Championship.
Of course, the ridiculously paid foreign footballers that have made their way to the Far East for a boosted salary all feature in the CSL, meaning each player of the Techand side are Chinese and don’t earn nearly as much per week.
But the players are no longer in need of a big salary given that their club’s owner has acted on his generous promise of a large bonus if promotion was achieved. It is reported that the money each player has been pictured with is equal to around £3 million per player. Who knows what the reward will be should Meixian Techand manage a consecutive promotion next season to reach the CSL!
Witsel admits economic aspects played a part in China move
In the least surprising news of the week so far, Tianjin Quanjian’s Axel Witsel has stated that he was attracted to the Chinese Super League because of the money on offer. The Belgian international joined Tianjin Quanjian from Zenit in January despite being sought after by a number of European giants including Juventus.
Witsel has managed four goals and three assists in his twenty-six appearances for Fabio Cannavaro’s side, and did also make the usual CSL player reference to “the project” as another motive behind his move to China.
“I don’t deny that the economic aspect was important and my choice was made especially with the money in mind.”
“However, the project also interested me beyond Cannavaro’s presence on the bench and I spoke to him often before reaching my decision.” [Quotes via CalcioMercato]
CSL player violently dragged off a plane in handcuffs
Finally, a shocking video has appeared of Beijing Guoan’s Li Lei involved in an aggressive exchange with Chinese officials on a commercial flight. The footage, that can be seen below, was filmed by a witness on the Air China flight in Haikou which was reportedly cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. Passengers were asked to exit the plane as a result, though Lei and his wife supposedly refused to do so, leading to the pair being aggressively forced back to the airport in handcuffs.
It is unclear whether Lei or his wife have been charged for the incident but reports state that the couple returned to Beijing the following day. Now there’s a story you don’t usually see in these CSL updates!