The Chinese Super League 2020 Season May Yet Live
Updated: May 9, 2020
Sport and the events industry have come off particularly badly in the recent shower of shite that is corona-hit society. Large gatherings of people and contact sports are off the table for now, which has led to almost all noteworthy sporting occasions being suspended and many leagues, teams and athletes floating in a state of limbo.
China’s top tier of football has been at the centre of the conflict between corona and sport since the start of the outbreak and was staring at a whole year away from the pitch. After recent statements from the Chinese FA though, the future does not look as depressingly bleak as it did.
The 2019 Chinese Super League season saw Fabio Cannavaro’s Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao (广州恒大淘宝) reclaim the title on the final day of the season - December 1st. Just in time, it would seem. No such luck for the 2020 season though, which was postponed indefinitely at the end of January.
Three lonely, arduous months later, a glimmering light has appeared at the end of the tunnel. Talk of the entire season being written off has wained and blueprints are being drawn up to restart the league in late June/early July of this year. The Chinese FA has informed the league’s teams that pre-season training can resume, and even Wuhan Zall (武汉早尔), the team representing the now infamous city of Wuhan, returned to their homes in April after being away from families and friends for 104 days.
This comes with several other restrictions being eased or lifted in the PRC. While international travel is still only an option for some, domestic travel across last weekend’s Labour Day holiday has been heavily policed but allowed. Some bars and restaurants in major cities are maintaining social distancing techniques but open for business. Gardens and parks are also seeing more people.
Life is by no means back to normal yet, but perhaps this can provide everyone else in the world with a bit of optimism that things will get better, and most importantly, sport will once again return to our lives like a majestic phoenix rising from the ashes.
Many players have been stuck in a 5-month-long ‘pre-season’ due to the uncertain nature of the virus. Beijing Guoan (北京国安), who narrowly missed out on the title last year, have been in Spain, South Korea and Thailand since January. They are also hindered by the absence of their French head coach Bruno Genesio who is quarantined in France.
Shanghai Shenhua (上海申花) will not be able to train with their foreign stars such as Obafemi Martins and Stephen El Shaarawy due to them being stuck in their home countries - a problem that many CSL clubs will face over the coming weeks.
How the virus has affected performance levels is yet to be seen, but captain of Beijing Guoan Yu Dabao (于大宝) told local news that “during the epidemic, the team has faced many difficulties but training remains high intensity and high quality, which shows that it is together and very united in difficult situations. We have spent a difficult time together.”
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