Date: Mar 7th 2014 3:03p.m.
Contributed by: chelseastone

This March, football madness will descend upon the country as the China Super League kicks off its tenth season.

 

For the uninitiated -- including those of you who still refer to football as soccer -- the Chinese Super League represents the upper echelons of Chinese football, and includes many players from China’s national team. Most Chinese cities have at least one team competing in the league; this year, Shanghai will have three.

 

Despite the status of playing in the upper league, CSL players are regularly thrashed in the global football arena. This gulf in skill was brought sharply into focus during last year’s Club World Cup, when German champions Bayern Munich roundly trounced CSL’s regular league champion, Guangzhou Evergrand, 3-0 in a preliminary match.

 

Still, the future of Chinese football isn’t entirely doom and gloom, especially when one considers how far the CSL has come in overcoming the controversy that has dogged previous seasons.

 

As recently as 2012, CSL promised Chelsea mega-star Didier Drogba and teammate Nicholas Anelka astronomical wages only to suffer an embarrassing loss of face after the money failed to materialize.

 

Unlike in Europe, where nosebleed seats cost a small fortune, it’s possible to get a fairly good seat to a CSL match for as little as RMB80. Tickets are available at stadiums on match days or in advance at mypiao.com.

 

CSL hadn’t announced its 2014 schedule at the time of printing, but check their official website (with one of your Mandarin-speaking friends, as it’s in Chinese only) for the best times to catch each club’s games at their home stadium.

 

By Tom Mountford

 

 

Shanghai Greenland Football Club

 

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