A number of Chinese Super League matches that were scheduled to be played in the southern city of Haikou due to the COVID-19 outbreak on the tropical island will be rescheduled and a third of the league teams currently there will be unable to leave temporarily, media reported on Monday.
The CFA decision means that six teams based in Haikou after recent matches – Chengdu Rongqing, Jinmen Tigers, Shandong Taishan, Hebei, Cangzhou Lions and Guangzhou – will not be able to leave the city for the time being, Beijing. The Daily said.
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Two matches featuring these six teams scheduled for later in the calendar, between Guangzhou and Chengdu and between Cangzhou and Shandong, have been brought forward to August 12 and will continue in Haikou.
Matches without those six teams will continue as scheduled but other matches will be postponed.
The report said Beijing Guoan, whose home matches were scheduled to be played in Haikou, will not be affected for the time being as its next three matches will be away matches.
The league has been severely affected by the pandemic, with the majority of teams unable to play on their grounds since the end of the 2019 season.
The decision upsets the league table that has pledged to play during the World Cup period later this year all the way to December 18 after it took a break earlier this summer to accommodate the Chinese team’s participation in the East Asian Championship in Japan.
It’s also the latest slap to Chinese football after the country ceded its right to next year’s Asian Cup final, which is unfortunate considering Haikou has been named one of several neutral stadiums used by clubs this season.
The global health crisis and China’s pursuit of a coronavirus-free strategy, along with growing difficulties within the business sector that funded many of the country’s clubs, have left the game in turmoil.
Jiangsu FC shut down last year, months after winning the 2020 Chinese Super League. Chongqing Liangjiang Athletic pulled out of CSL and went out of business due to high debt in May.
The home-and-away coordination will see that clubs that have been granted permits by local authorities are allowed to host matches at their own stadiums.
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