The Chinese Super League (CSL) is the top-most professional football league in China. Currently known as the China Ping An Chinese Football Association Super League for sponsorship purposes, the league is governed by the Chinese Football Association (CFA).
Established in 2004, the CSL currently comprises 18 teams. It is one of the country’s most popular sports leagues, and its matches draw thousands of spectators. Currently, it is the 32nd highest of any professional association football league in the world.
This article entails a brief description of the history and current status of the Chinese Super League.
Chinese Super League History
In 1951, the Chinese National Football League was formed with eight teams in the first season. Three years later, the league was renamed the National Football league and was segregated into two divisions in 1956. Around the same time, the competition format was switched to a two-tier system with promotions and relegations.
The league became a semi-professional league in 1987. The same year, Division 1 was renamed the Chinese Jia-A League and had the top seven clubs, while the other eight clubs from Division 1 and the top four clubs from Division 2 were inducted into the Chinese Jia-B-League. These two groups were merged a year later, but in 1989 they were again divided.
In 1994, a sports system reform project was initiated in China as a part of which the Chinese Jia-A League became China’s first professional football league. While the league enjoyed some early success, it soon received widely negative publicity due to inconsistent management practices, no focus on development, corruption, and gambling.
Due to these issues, the CFA decided to restructure the league in 2002 and created the Chinese Super League in 2004. The format for the CSL was inspired by the top European leagues to create a league that was highly professional and had a strong structure.
The Chinese Super League format
The inaugural season of the CSL had twelve teams. The initial phase of the CSL was marred by the controversies surrounding the Chinese Jia-A League, and a lack of public interest was imminent. In 2005, two more teams were added to the league, and another team in the next season in 2006. Since 2009, the Chinese Super League has had 16 stable clubs. Two teams are relegated to the China League One at the season’s end, and two are promoted from China League One accordingly. The China League One is the country’s second-level professional football league. The promotion and relegation system in the CSL makes the total club tally 18.
How long is the Chinese Super League Season?
The Chinese Super League usually begins in February or March and ends in November or December. However, in 2022 the season began in June.
The current season is scheduled to have 167 matches, and teams have been divided into three groups. Each club plays the other clubs at least twice, once at home and once in another arena. At the end of the season, the two of the lowest teams are demoted to the China League One, and the top two performing teams from the China League One are upgraded to the Chinese Super League.
In the 2021 CSL season, Shandong Taishan won the series with the Shanghai Port in second place. The 19th season of the CSL began on 3rd June and is expected to end on 17th December 2022.
How is the league position determined in the CSL?
The league position in the Chinese Super League is established by the highest number of total points scored during the entire season.
The team with the highest number of points is the top-ranked team of the season. The two teams with the lowest number of points are relegated to the second-tier league. In case of two or more teams have the same number of points, a tie occurs, and various aspects are considered to break the tie.
For instance, in that case, the top team would be the one with the highest number of points scored in the matches held between the concerned teams. The next benchmark is to consider the team with the biggest goal difference in matches between the respective teams. Similarly, next in line is the team with the highest number of goals, and so on.
Who is the top scorer of the Chinese Super League?
The top scorer for the 2022 season is Marcao, with 16 goals. The Brazilian professional football player plays as a striker for the Wuhan Three Towns.