Five months after the start of the original season, the Chinese Super League has confirmed that the 2020 campaign will begin this month.
After a long process with the Chinese Football Association seeking an agreement with the general administration of sport, their latest attempt to secure a 2020 football season was finally accepted.
The season is now scheduled to start on Saturday, July 25, with the top clubs split into two groups, one located in Dalian and the other in Suzhou.
Group A, which will be based in Dalian, includes: Dalian Professional, Guangzhou Evergrande, Guangzhou R&F, Henan Jianye, Jiangsu Suning, Shandong Luneng, Shanghai Shenhua and Shenzhen.
Group B, which will be based in Suzhou, includes: Beijing Guo’an, Chongqing Lifan, Hebei China Fortune, Qingdao Huanghai, Shanghai SIPG, Shijiazhuang Ever Bright, Tianjin TEDA and Wuhan Zall.
The league campaign will be split into two stages: the group stage and the relegation / championship knockout stages.
This will mean that even if teams finish at the bottom of their respective group, they will still have a chance to avoid relegation in a tournament-type knockout phase.
A number of importing players who have been stranded outside of China have recently returned to the country through special channels, although there are still a number that teams will need to organize before the start of the new season.
According to Titan Sports Plus, teams will be cleared at their respective host city starting July 10, but all players and coaches will need to arrive by July 21 for logistical reasons.
Although no official date has been set for the debut of China League One and League Two, a source familiar with the situation estimates that they will start a few weeks later, around August 8 or 9.
The return of competitive football to China was threatened with the rejection of previous CFA plans and small pockets of new coronavirus outbreaks forcing them to choose cities that are not provincial capitals due to their higher risk of transmission. .
With a firmly fixed date, fans will be delighted to have the football to look forward to, even if it will be very different from years and competitions of the past.
Relegation rules for the new season have yet to be confirmed, although it is increasingly believed that relegations will be halted for this season, allowing two China League One clubs to be promoted and a larger upper level of 18 teams to operate in 2021..