A shortened Chinese Super League campaign has been announced, with the next phase of play set to resume from July 15th.
League play in China has been on standby since the last international break, where Li Tie’s China national team won successive matches to progress to the next stage of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.
Now, the league will be split into two phases and the season will be reduced to 22 matches in total, with the next phase of resumed play to begin on July 15th and continue until August 12th. During this phase, nine matches are set to take place within the two bubble groups.
From then, the national team will reconvene and prepare for their first six matches of the third round of World Cup qualifiers, with two matches taking place in September, October and November respectively.
Once the international break ends after Team Dragon’s tie with Australia on November 16th, there will be a two-week break before the final, phase of the 2021 Chinese Super League starts on December 1st – this time with eight matches set to see out the year.
For the first time in Chinese Super League history, the league will play into the new year, with the final day of the league set for January 3rd, allowing players more time to rest and to prepare for the final stage of World Cup qualifying.
The decision to split the league and focus on the national team has come as no real surprise to those involved in the Chinese game, with the CFA’s clear preference being success on the international stage rather than the importance of the domestic league.
With the third round of qualifying set to end on March 29th 2022, it will also likely mean yet another delayed start to the Super League for next year’s campaign – bringing about yet more surprises to a league that has undergone so much change in recent years.