Chinese Soccer League Corruption Means No Sponsor or TV Deal

April 4, 2011

Soccer officials in China’s top league, hit by a series of scandals in recent years, have failed to find a new main sponsor and is beginning a new season without one, or a national TV deal.

Tyre maker Pirelli was previously the competitions primary backer but has torn up its contract with the Chinese Super League, while national broadcaster China Central Television is refusing to show the matches, and there are reports of poor ticket sales at some clubs.

The problems stem from the league and its organisers, with a lack of interest and fans in China never being an issue.

Several senior officials from the Chinese Football Association (CFA) have been arrested over match-fixing allegations, while top referees were sacked for taking bribes and even players have been tainted by claims of corruption.

Many of the fans are now preferring to focus their attention on European soccer instead, with the national team not having helped either – years of poor results have seen China drop to 76 in the FIFA world rankings.