A concrete start date to the 2020 football season in China is slowly becoming a reality, but it could come at the cost of the CFA Cup.
Early hopes of seeing the season begin in May appear to have taken a significant hit after the country closed its borders to foreigners, leaving a number of teams without some of their best players.
With anyone entering the country immediately beginning a 14-day quarantine, the likelihood of the season beginning before June is largely diminished, especially with a new of cases emerging across the country once again.
Now, according to Titan Sports, sources in the middle kingdom are considering a new tentative start date of June 20th for the new season, with the idea of fitting in all 30 league matches in before the turn of the year.
This would give the Super League, League One, League Two and below less than 28 full weeks to fit in games, while also accommodating international breaks and continental competitions such as the AFC Champions League.
This puts the status of the 2020 CFA Cup up in the air, with the Chinese domestic knockout competition likely to take a back seat to the league.
With Chinese leagues typically playing just one league match per week, filtering in other knockout competitions in the middle of the week, an adjustment to two league matches every so often will need to be made.
This leaves virtually no time to accommodate the CFA Cup, which has a two-round final to determine the winner.
If the cup needs to be sacrificed in order to fit the league season in before the turn of the year, it would leave Shanghai Shenhua as the reigning champions until the end of the 2021 season.
It would be a shame that clubs couldn’t compete in the knockout competition, particularly for some of the smaller clubs that could earn important revenue in matches against top tier opponents.
However, if there is any hope of having a full football league season before the end of the year, it would be a small price to pay to ensure teams get back on the pitch and compete in 2020.
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