Tiers – Chinese Super League and JIA League.
Cup competitions – The Chinese FA Cup.
Other competitions – None.
Having one of the simpler league and cup systems in the world, China is an unexpected joy to manage in. However, it’s not just the simplicity that makes China a great place to play FM, it’s also the length of the domestic season which is neither as long and drawn out as say England, nor as short as India or Hong Kong. Admittedly the clubs aren’t exactly awash with cash, but finances are generally healthy enough and can be supplemented quite easily with attractive and lucrative affiliate deals with European and South American teams. Chinese clubs also produce a reasonable amount of talent each season; though you’ll need to try and develop the potential as it’s quite rare for a player to be blessed with both physical and technical skills. All things considered, China just feels ‘right’ and it’s worth a look for anyone wanting to try somewhere different.
Chinese Super League.
With 16 clubs playing each other twice the season weighs in at 30 matches. The teams finishing in fifteenth and sixteenth each season are relegated to the JIA League. As is common place throughout the world, wins are rewarded with three points and draws with one point. Teams tied on points are separated firstly by head to head results and then by goal difference and goals scored.
Match-day squads allow for the naming of seven substitutes of which three may take to the field. The squad must contain no more than four foreign or Hong Kong national players in total, of which no more than three must be ‘entirely foreign’ (i.e. neither Chinese nor Hong Kong nationals). There are two domestic transfer windows, the first of which opens on the last Tuesday of December and runs until the end of the first week in February; the second opens at the end of July and runs for the whole of August. An international window also runs from the last Tuesday of December until the end of August.
One peculiarity of the Chinese football system is that clubs may not own or play any goalkeepers who are not Chinese nationals.
Player discipline is straight forward with a standard one-match ban being issued for every four yellow cards and a standard one-match ban for every red card.
The JIA League.
Following the same basic rules as outlined above, the JIA League promotes it’s top two clubs to the CSL (i.e. there are no play-offs) and relegates its bottom two to unplayable divisions.
Match-day squad and disciplinary rules are the same as those for the CSL.
The Chinese FA Cup.[/u]
For much of its duration the Chinese FA Cup is a straight knock-out cup competition with ties settled by extra-time and penalties rather than replays. However, this all changes at the Quarter and Semi-Final stages where ties become two-legged and the away goals rule is introduced to settle drawn matches. The Final itself reverts back to a one-off match.
Match-day squads and disciplinary rules follow the Premier Division rules.