China to curb splashy spending on players

China will put limits on the wild sums its clubs are spending on international football players, authorities said Thursday, days after the transfer window opened and the Asian record was promptly smashed.

The statement came days after Shanghai SIPG recruited Brazilian star Oscar from Chelsea in a 60-million-euro ($63 million) deal that broke the Asian transfer record. Carlos Tevez, Argentina’s former Manchester United and Manchester City striker, was lured to rival Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua in another big-money deal.

Tevez’s transfer fee was 10.5 million euros, according to the website transfermarkt.com, which tracks football transfers, and the 32-year-old is reportedly set to become the highest-paid player in the world with a two-year contract of 38 million euros per season.Oscar’s deal with Shanghai SIPG is thought to be 24 million euros a season – which would still put him above Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi of Barcelona.

Last year Chinese teams broke the Asian transfer record four times – including three times in 10 days in the winter transfer window, when their spending outstripped even the mega-rich English Premier League.

China’s national team is ranked a lowly 82nd in the world – just below the Caribbean island nation of St Kitts and Nevis, population less than 60,000 – but Chinese President Xi Jinping has declared his hopes of the country one day hosting and winning a World Cup, prompting a flood of money into its top professional teams. In December the Chinese Football Association, the sport’s governing body in China, announced it will lower the number of overseas players allowed on domestic teams from five to four.