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Only in the CSL: Ending the Season with a Weekday Afternoon Match

Though I should be in the office right now, I’m not. Instead I’m sitting in a hotel room and as I look otu the window, I can see Hongkou Stadium through the rain. I took two days off from work and made the trip south along with 300+ fellow Beijing fans to watch the last match of the season. It shouldn’t be this way, there’s no reason to end the season on a weekday. To add insult to injury, the Chinese Super League decided to start all the matches at 3:30 pm, meaning its quite possible that Guoan fans will come close to outnumbering Shanghai fans at kick-off today.

This is one seemingly crazy Chinese Super League policy that actually has some “logic” to it. China’s a large country and weather conditions vary drastically between the north and the south. In Changchun, who have a home game today, weather conditions are literally night and day. At kickoff, the temperature will be a “balmy” 9°C, but tonight the city is expecting temperatures below zero. The same is true of a number of locations across northern China.

But how much does this matter? The cold weather will affect the match, but it should affect both teams equally. Also, we already know they aren’t taking the fans into consideration because no matter how cold it is, it’s still better for the fans to attend an evening match. You may be saying, “that’s fine, the northern matches can start late, but the southern ones should be nighttime kickoffs.” That’s not how the league sees it, because of fears regarding match fixing in what are often crucial matches (though this year are pretty much all meaningless), the league mandates all kickoffs for the last few matches start at the same time.

Then there’s the fact it’s a midweek match. The reasoning for this is simple, there’s a national team match coming up on the 11th and this will give the team more time to prepare for the match. Nevermind that it’s a pain in the ass for the fans, first and foremost the priority is the national team.

Oh well, if you’re a Chinese Super League fan, I hope you have a very kind boss or can take a (very) late afternoon tea “lunch”. Oh yeah, and since today’s derby day, go Beijing, beat those Shanghai SBs!

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years. Chemers' credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.



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