Tag Archives: CSL

UPDATE: Beckham’s CSL ambassadorial role now confirmed: details below

Becks: on the mic, not on the pitch
Becks: on the mic, not on the pitch

(UPDATE: Deal is for one year, not three as reported by QQ. Terms still not announced, but People’s Daily reporting Becks is getting 2 million euros ($2.6 million) for his troubles, paid in large part by a sponsor, so at little cost to the CSL).

David Beckham’s much discussed ambassadorial role for the Chinese Super League (CSL) will see him visit China three times this season. His Excellency will miss the league’s opening ceremony on March 8 due to UEFA Champions League commitments with PSG (though he could appear by video link or recorded message), but Becks will likely come at the end of March is due to arrive in Beijing on March 21 (PSG don’t play March 18-29 inclusive) and will stay in China for about a week, also visting Shanghai and Guangzhou. He’ll return at the end of May after the French season ends on May 26, and will visit a third time in November towards the end of the CSL season (UPDATE: when he’s expected to be a captain for – but not play in! – the CSL All-Star Game).

The news was confirmed on Friday by Yu Hongchen, Vice Chairman of the Chinese Football Association (CFA) and Chairman of the CSL. Yu didn’t disclose the terms of the deal, but IMG – who helped broker the deal – told me it was a one year agreement (though QQ are reporting a three-year deal). The money – again, not confirmed – is reported to be an annual sum of 20 million yuan (roughly $3.2 million) (UPDATE: Source told me this is “not even close”, but whatever the true sum, he’s clearly getting decent money – plus whatever he can make in endorsements on the side – for what amounts to three brief visits to China).

Continue reading UPDATE: Beckham’s CSL ambassadorial role now confirmed: details below

China deal makes sense for Beckham, but not for league

The speculation towards the end of last year that David Beckham would end his career playing in the Chinese Super League (CSL) just didn’t make any kind of sense – either for Beckham the player or Beckham the brand. He had offers from English Premier League clubs and from clubs in continental Europe who were still in this year’s UEFA Champions League. China was too far away from his family, who had already relocated from LA to London.

But Beckham’s proposed ambassadorial role promoting the CSL, which Xinhua reports is “almost certain” to happen, is – on the surface – far more bizarre, especially given that he is supposed to be starting this role imminently i.e. while still in Paris. You can just imagine the interviews:

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Back in the saddle: Becks helps set up a goal on his debut for PSG

French journalist: So David, great start to your PSG career on the weekend, but what I really want to ask you about is the Chinese Super League. Who’s the most promising young player in the league?

Beckham: Err…

French journalist: Well can you tell us your favorite team?

Beckham: Err…

etc.

Continue reading China deal makes sense for Beckham, but not for league

IMG: Beckham may still play in China

Speculation has appeared in Chinese media that All-World Superstar David Beckham will become an international ambassador for the Chinese Super League (see my earlier report here).

However, IMG, who are attempting to facilitate the deal, has told me that, contrary to reports, nothing has been confirmed at this stage, though negotiations are at an advanced stage (aren’t they always?).

That said, if the deal does get signed, IMG says Beckham may play in China after he has completed his five-month stint in France. They are also in discussions about his potential grassroots support – something China desperately needs – and Becks has experience in this area through his soccer schools – though, ominously, both his London and LA Academies have closed.

Continue reading IMG: Beckham may still play in China

China’s 99%

The 99% claim has popped up twice in recent days in the context of Chinese sports, and both times there are less than convincing arguments.

Firstly, a Shanghai Shenhua club lawyer told Sina in reference to Didier Drogba’s contested move to Galatasaray in Turkey:

“We now have evidence which we believe will give Shenhua a 99% chance of winning a lawsuit at FIFA.”

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Unnamed legal sources tend to have a habit of exaggeration because they are anonymous –> untraceable –> unaccountable. But I’m pretty sure – 99% sure in fact – that Drogba’s own legal team would have made sure there is a water tight case for breach of contract by Shenhua (presumably for unpaid wages) before he moved to another club.

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What’s next for Chinese football?

Here’s my weekly Sports Talk column from the Global Times, entitled “Star exits don’t matter in bigger picture”

With all the negative headlines surrounding the recent departures of Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka, it is important to keep some perspective about where this leaves Chinese soccer.

Was it disappointing? Yes, but their exits came as no surprise. The pair had long been rumored to be on their way out, and they are hardly the first foreign players to have left before fulfilling their contracts.

It is far more embarrassing, though, for the club and its flamboyant owner, Zhu Jun, an Internet entrepreneur whose ambitions appear to have wildly outsized his bank balance.

Continue reading What’s next for Chinese football?