China’s football fans are apparently looking forward to the start of the season in the local Super League at the weekend after three years of anti-corona measures.
After official crowd restrictions were lifted, the 68,000 tickets for Saturday’s opening match between Beijing Guoan and Meizhou Hakka sold out within five minutes of the start of public ticket sales two days before the match, according to a report by the state-run Global Times.
Information from the Chinese specialist magazine Soccer News is also showing great interest in other matches. According to this, champion Wuhan Three Towns expects around 40,000 visitors in his arena for his opening match against Shanghai Port with the Brazilian veteran star Oscar. A total of 16 teams will play for the championship until November.
China’s government had issued strict conditions for the continuation of play in the Super League to combat the corona pandemic. There were upper limits for the maximum number of visitors allowed in the individual arenas.
According to the Global Times, the restart after the government’s officially propagated victory over the virus should not only be “the beginning of a new era for Chinese football” because of the consequences of the pandemic.
In addition to the corona restrictions, the deep crisis in football in the Middle Kingdom was also exacerbated by the financial collapse of numerous clubs, such as in 2021 by then-champion Jiangsu Suning. The sport is also burdened by a corruption scandal that has not yet been resolved and in which even former association president Chen Xuyuan and former national coach Li Tie are said to be involved.
Despite all the negative developments, China’s government is still pursuing plans to host a World Cup. President Xi Jinping has also declared the rise of the Chinese national team to the top of the world as a goal by 2050.