Chinese Super League season to begin April 20

Shanghai (AFP) –


The new Chinese Super League season will begin on April 20 and teams will be concentrated in two cities to help thwart the coronavirus, media said Thursday.

It will be similar to last season's CSL, when the 16 clubs were housed in two hotels, in two locations, and kept away from the public to prevent infections.

For the new campaign, half of the teams will be stationed for the first phase in the southern city of Guangzhou and the other half in Suzhou, near Shanghai.

Fabio Cannavaro's former champions Guangzhou will be based in their home city.

Shanghai Port, who boast the 60-million-euro Brazilian Oscar and former West Ham United striker Marko Arnautovic, will start the season in Suzhou.

Last season began behind closed doors but the new campaign is likely to see fans allowed into stadiums from the start, although not all matches will be open to supporters, Chinese media previously said.

Chinese football, which until recently had a reputation for excessive spending, is still reeling from the demise of champions Jiangsu FC.

Jiangsu defeated Cannavaro's Guangzhou over two legs in November but just over 100 days later said it was ceasing operations after struggling owners Suning pulled the plug on the team.

Earlier this week, the Chinese Football Association threw Jiangsu out of the professional game.