Chinese soccer clubs apply for neutral names under new regulations
The Chinese Football Association, soccer’s domestic governing body, has announced a total of 58 clubs from its domestic leagues have applied to change their name after being ordered to drop all corporate references from their monikers.
In December, the CFA introduced new regulations requiring all soccer clubs from the top-tier Chinese Super League, second-tier League One, third-tier League Two and fourth-tier CMCL, to remove any references to investors and companies that own them and adopt more “neutral names” from the 2021 season.
The move was made as part of wide-scale reforms for the sport in the country, which started in 2015, and to keep club names more stable in the long run.
Yesterday, the governing body said of the 58 soccer clubs to have applied for a name change, 80 per cent had been approved.
Chen Xuyan, CFA president, said: “In the past, the club owners changed quickly in our league and therefore club names also had to change. It was not beneficial to cultivating the football culture in China.”
The majority of the 16 clubs in the CSL have corporations in their names, including champions Jiangsu Suning and high-profile teams Guangzhou Evergrande and Shanghai SIPG.
Suning is a retail giant, while Evergrande is one of China’s largest property developers and SIPG is the International Port Group.
Earlier this week, CSL club Shandon Luneng announced its new name Shandon Taishan had been approved by the CFA, while Shanghai SIPG also changed its name to ‘Shanghai Haigang’.
Guangzhou Evergrande changed its name to Guangzhou FC, while city rivals Guangzhou R&F became Guangzhou City. Henan Jianye has their named change to Luoyang Longmen last month.
The 2020 season, delayed by six months due to the coronavirus pandemic, ended on 12 November with Jiangsu Suning crowned champions.
No dates have been set for the 2021 season.