FIFA: Chinese soccer clubs spent $450m+ on players last year
ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 27, 2017 09:51 AM
FILE - In this March 29, 2016 file photo, Paraguay's Dario Lezcano, left, fights for the ball with Brazil's Hulk during a World Cup qualifying soccer match in Asuncion, Paraguay. The governing body of Chinese soccer plans a series of measures in response to what is termed "irrational" spending by clubs on transfer fees and player salaries, amid concerns that foreign stars are crowding out local talent and harming the country's goal of becoming a global force in the sport. Shanghai Shenhua said it paid an $11 million transfer fee to Argentina's Boca Juniors for Teves. Oscar was purchased from Chelsea, and Brazilians Hulk, Ramires, Alex Teixeira and Paulinho, Colombian striker Jackson Martinez and Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi also joined the league. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz, File)ZURICH (AP) — FIFA says spending by Chinese soccer clubs on players soared beyond $450 million last year.
The surge in investment in foreign talent, which is intended to enhance the standard of the Chinese Super League, took the country to fifth in FIFA's global spending rankings, released Friday, behind England, Germany, Spain and Italy.
In 2013, Chinese clubs only spent $27.8 million on international transfers. That figure leapt to $168.3 million in 2015 and climbed to $451.3 million last year.
The bulk of the spending in 2016 was to sign players from European teams, including Shanghai SIPG paying more than $60 million to Zenit St. Petersburg for Brazilian striker Hulk.
But China has imposed restrictions on the number of foreign players allowed in teams for the 2017 season in an attempt to curb the big spending. Teams are still allowed to sign up to five foreign players, but only three can appear on the pitch together.
The biggest spenders on international transfers last year were still English teams, with an outlay of $1.37 billion, including Paul Pogba's world-record move from Juventus to Manchester United for $116 million in August.
Globally, transfer spending rose 14 percent to a record $4.79 billion in 2016. The FIFA figures do not account for transfers within a country.