A surprise new “100 per cent tax” in China has threatened to block mega-moves for the likes of Wayne Rooney and Diego Costa after Chinese Super League clubs were told that they will have to pay the exact transfer fee into a fund that helps the development of young Chinese players if they are posting losses each year.
After years of lucrative signings that has seen the likes of Hulk, Oscar and Carlos Tevez move to the Far East for huge sums of money, the Chinese Football Association is attempting to crack down on the influx of foreign signings that is stemming the rise of homegrown players.
The new ruling, which the CFA has introduced, will take effect from 19 June, and will result in clubs effectively having to pay double the price if they are not posting profits.
"Clubs signing players through capital expenditure will be charged the same amount, with the full sum going to the Chinese Football Development Foundation, to train young players, promote social football and soccer charity activities,” a CFA statement read.
Quanjuan Tianjin have expressed a serious interest in Chelsea striker Diego Costa and nearly signed him earlier in the year at the end of January, with the Chinese side expected to resume their interest in the summer with the striker’ Stamford Bridge future in major doubt.
This new ruling though throws the possibility of Costa moving to China into major doubt, given that his valuation had been put at £90m before this tax change was announced, meaning that Tianjin would now have to pay £180m for the forward if Chelsea still demanded the same fee.
Another high-profile target has been the Manchester United and England captain Rooney – who today was left out of Gareth Southgate’s squad for the upcoming games against Scotland and France – but while he is contracted to United until 2019, it’s understood that the club are willing to let him leave for free due to his 13 years of outstanding commitment to the club, which means clubs in China would still be able to sign him in the summer should he leave Old Trafford as is expected.
The move is the latest effort by the CFA to try and prevent an overload of foreign players earning lucrative contracts, having seen Tevez and Ezequiel Lavezzi signed to deals worth a reported £650,000-a-week and £798,000-a-week respectively. Before the season got underway, the CFA announced a limit on a maximum five foreign players allowed in a matchday squad, with the national governing body determined to improve China’s ranking of 81st ahead of their bid for the 2030 World Cup.
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