The great days of Chinese football are a thing of the past. The Chinese Football Association (CFA) is currently helpless, turning a blind eye to salary debt.

On November 3, right before the Chengdu Rongcheng and Hebei match in the 23rd round of the Chinese Super League (CSL), Hebei players held up a banner to claim their rights. The banner read, “Begging China Fortune Land Development to pay the hard-earned money of Chinese players.”

According to Tencent, on November 5, the Chinese Football Association announced a penalty of 3 points deducted from Hebei Football Club’s league points and classified Hebei’s original 3 points as zero.

On the same day, Hebei Football Club issued a ‘Statement on the Recent Situation of Hebei Football Club.’ 

According to the Statement, many factors contribute to  the club’s investor, the Hebei Fortune Land Development’s current situation, including history and reality. Currently, the club’s existing players have only a small amount of salary arrears, and the larger debt is some tens of millions of dollars in previous arrears. The investor is still under the debt committee’s management, and the group’s funds are in great difficulty, resulting in slow progress in settlement of arrears. At the same time, existing players continue to suffer from salary arrears.

Also, the Hebei Football Club gave the players the option to withdraw at the end of this ‘Situation Statement.’ In theory, if the players choose to leave, once the club goes to the league and declares bankruptcy, all previous unpaid salaries will be reduced to zero. 

Specifically, the fifth item said that if the team agreed to abide by the relevant Chinese Super League regulations and the number of players who continue to participate in training and competitions reaches the number required for registration in the Chinese Super League, then the club would continue support to ensure that the team completes the season successfully. Otherwise, the club would respect the wishes of the majority of players and withdraw from the Chinese Super League.

If the Hebei team withdraws from the competition, the previous and subsequent games will be counted as a loss.

In response, on November 6, Hebei team players issued a statement signed by all players, “Today, all Chinese players of the Hebei team have not received 30% of the unpaid wages owed by the club. And the majority of the players have not been paid a penny of their annual wages in 2022.” 

The ‘Statement’ called on Hebei Football Club to follow its promises. At the same time, it requested that the Chinese Football Association (CFA) and relevant departments perform their duties effectively to protect the players’ legitimate claims and rights.

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