(BBC News School Report) China Unnerves the Elite Footballing Community

(Reported by Kofi Osei-Owusu, Year 7)

Football, a sport that draws the attention of millions of fans per year. However as China turns the head of the top footballers many fans and managers feel the spirit of the game is slowly crumbling away. In this report we will look deeply into the heart of the problem and why and how China can splash out the cash.

The question commonly raised in this heated debate is just how China can afford to pay these stars such a large sum of money. The answer lies with the Chinese president XI Jinpin who has pumped an estimated 850 billion pounds into the Chinese sporting community in aid of a possible World Cup bid. A league with star players may allow FIFA to look generously on their proposition.

It is a well-known fact that China are paying these players handsomely, but just who is making the 9 hour flight from Europe’s top leagues to the Chinese super league? Former Chelsea star Oscar is the latest, but by no means the last player to relent to the money that China offers. He joins fellow European stars, Carlos Teves, Givanildo Viera de Souza, Hulk  Granziona Pelle, Demba Ba and Ramirez in the top flight of Chinese football. Popular Man United striker Wayne Rooney has also been linked to various Chinese clubs.

However XI Jinpin’s beloved league is not spotless and by no means invincible. Over the past few years the league’s reputation has been riddled by match fixing and bribery. This may deter many top footballers from making the move.

In order to curb China’s ambition, a new law has put a curfew on the Chinese money spree. Chinese clubs will only be able to field three foreign players per game when the new season starts. Chairmen of Tianjin, Shu, who claims his clubs were in talks with footballers Costa, Karim Benzema, Radamel Falcao and Edison Cavani says that ‘This situation has brought a change to our signing plans”.

To contextualise just how much these players are payed the ex-Chelsea players Oscar earns more than numerous ‘Ball on’ Dor’ winners Lionel Messi and Christian Ronaldo. His fellow Chinese superstar Hulk earns a mind blowing 400,000 a week, £20.8m per year, 57,123 per day. Or £2,381 per hour. Or £39 per minute. This staggering fact shows that Hulk brings home a normal monthly salary every hour. This only reinforces the long-established debate that footballers get paid an obscene amount of money.

However it’s not just players that are considering a move to China, long standing Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg came out with the following statement. “There is no offer on the table but if they made an offer it would be under consideration. It’s important to have the right quality of referee to go with the level of football. China is going to become a huge player in years to come … If they want to be serious about their league they are going to have to have the right setup. Refereeing is a huge part of football.”

Former footballers and Premier League managers have also spoken at length about this issue. Both Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte have warned against moves to China. Conte is adamant football is about the passion, rather than monetary gain.

This leaves a firm impression that the root of football are being pulled up and the beautiful games is evolving into the ‘Money Game’.

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/dec/30/mark-clattenburg-chinese-super-league

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/24/michael-ballack-diego-costa-chelsea-chinese-riches