The COVID-19 pandemic has been a major blow to sports leagues all over the world. China being the first country to identify a case in Wuhan suffered the most as the pandemic originated from there. But the country has lately been recovering quite well from this situation and is slowly looking to bring things back to normal after months of travel restrictions and strict lockdown measures. During the pandemic, things have gone from bad to worse for Liaoning as the club is now on brink of shutting down. They have failed to show any evidence to the authorities that they had paid all their staff members and players.
The Chinese Football Association, however, is hoping to begin the league season as soon as possible as some of the clubs have returned to training. The Chinese Super League was originally supposed to start on 22nd February but due to the pandemic, the Chinese Football Association decided to suspend all competitions for an unspecified period of time before the season could even start. It seemed at one point that the league would begin mid-April, however, that may have changed after the coronavirus test results came out positive for Shandong Luneng Taishan star Marouane Fellaini when he returned to China. The Belgian International is in isolation and is currently undergoing treatment.
Shanghai SIPG has already started training as Brazillian Stars Hulk and Oscar made it to the country just a few minutes before the government closed its borders. However a few of the staff members including players, Marko Arnautovic for example, and coaches could not make it before the deadline. On the other hand, city rivals Shanghai Shenhua will be starting training mid-April without club captain Giovanni Moreno and a few other foreign staff members. The rest of the foreign players including former As Roma and AC Milan star Stephan El Shaarawy had returned before the deadline. After being in quarantine for 14 days, El Shaarawy will be joining the rest of the team for training.
Meanwhile, champions Guangzhou Evergrande FC have also suffered blows as former Barcelona midfielder Paulinho could not make it to China before they closed their borders. Same was the case with Anderson Talisca. Head coach and former Italian International Fabio Cannavaro showed concern over the pandemic’s consequences in Italy and said how Italy should do the same as China where “things are slowly coming back to normal”. Champions Guangzhou Evergrande will be looking to win their 9th league title in the last 10 years, however, they have not started training yet as most of the players are not inside the country because of the closed borders. The Chinese Football Association still has hopes that the season will start before the end of April once all players are fit and have returned to China.