Hello. The purpose of this thread is to provide information to the FM Community about Chinese football in FM, with emphasis on the CSL. As someone who follows the league in real life, and has done for many years, as well as playing in the league in game, understands the culture from both a Chinese and Western perspective and someone with a healthy dislike of British tabloids, I feel qualified to give good information on this topic. Any questions, both about real life CSL myths and China in FM can be asked, and I will try to continue monitoring this thread. It is also worth noting that the CSL runs on a calendar schedule, and there will be rule changes when the February update comes out. This guide will be written based on the implementation of the rules in game now, as well as mentioning the changes next season.
The Chinese Super League:
in FM18 the CSL is recognised as one of the best leagues in Asia by reputation. It is played on a calendar season, as with the rest of east Asia, and has 30 league matches in a season, as well as having the Chinese Football Association Cup, in which all matches are two legged(including the Final). Every year the bottom 2 teams in the 16 team league are relegated and the top two are promoted from the China League 1
Squad and Transfer Rules:
The CSL has strict squad rules compared to Europe, but slightly weaker than those of South Korea. In the 2017 season the squad is limited to 5 foreign players, with only three in the match day squad. unlike much of Asia, there is no AFC player allowance(3+1 rule) for ether the squad or the match squad, although in real life 1 of the 5 must be AFC. In the 2018 season there will only be 4 foreign player slots in the squad. Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan players are not local in 2017 unless their contracts were signed before 1/1/2016, but for the 2018 season are local(but I'm not sure how to real life limit of 1 non naturalised player will be put in to FM).
Foreign Goalkeepers are also not allowed but any prudent player will realise that a goal keeper would not be a good use of a slot anyway, due to the shortage of local players
On each match day clubs are also required to have 1 u23 Chinese player in the playing 11 at all times(although in real life this was worded as starting 11, leading to the u23 players being subbed off) and 2 in the match day squad overall. In the 2018 season clubs will be required to have as many u23 Chinese players in the match squad as foreign players, although as the CSL website is unavailable in the UK(where I live) and the SINA post is unclear, this rule is unclear.
In China in FM, the Bosman rule is not used. This means that there is nothing stopping a player from being held by the club for ever. As this doesn't happen in real life though, I advise anyone playing in China to be sporting and renew contracts.
There is 100% tax on foreign signings, designed to emulate a much more complex rule on transfers. This will probably be the same in game for the January update.
Finally, there is a limit on Chinese signings. there can be at most 7 o17 Chinese players signed per season per club, and 5 o21 Chinese players per season per club. There is no limit on u17 players.
UPDATE: for the 2018 season, clubs may only register 4 foreign players
China, contrary to popular belief, has some very big clubs with proud histories, most noticeably Liaoning(relegated in 2017 season), Shanghai Shenhua(a mid table club with a history of alleged miss management and big foreign players)(Shen is short for shanghai, Hua means flower) Beijing Guo'an(Guo means nation, An means safety or security) , Shandong Luening(a company name), Tianjin TEDA(Technological Economic Development Area I think) and Dalian Shide(folded in 2009 I think). However, the big clubs today are Guangzhou Evergrande, now 7 in a row winners of the league(in the game as Hengda, the former Chinese name of Evergrande group, roughly meaning very big), shanghai SIPG(Shanghai international port group, in the game as Shanggang, meaning Hong Kong. How it became the translation I do not know. Formally known as Dongya, meaning east Asia) Hebei CF and Tianjin Quanjin(a Chinese medicine company). Along with these noticeable clubs there are a number of strong mid table clubs, all well funded(especially if one was to give the league its real TV deal).
Most clubs also have strong facilities and stadiums between 25000 and 50000.
This season in real life Liaoning and Yanbian have been relegated, while Beijing Renhe and Dalian Yifan have been promoted.
It goes without saying that there are some very good foreign players in the CSL. Among them Brazilians Hulk(SIPG), Oscar(SIPG),Elekson(SIPG) and Alan(GZE), 2017 top scorer Eran Zahavi(GZRF) and Tianjin Quanjian stars Axel Witsel and Anthony Modeste. There are also some decent Chinese players, but china lacks in depth and as a result, good Chinese players sell for a lot in real life(not fully reflected in game) and are payed a lot(reflected in game). The best are Zhang Yuning(ST;West Brom on loan at Bremen), Wu Lei(AM;SIPG), Zheng Zhi(CM;GZE), Zhang Chengdong(AML;HBCF), Zhang Linpéng(DR;GZE) and Gao Lin(ST;GZE).
The best goalkeepers are Zeng Cheng(GZE), Yan Junling(SIPG), Wang Dalei(SDL) and Yang Zhi(BJGA).
As a rule in the CSL Good foreign players are Low to Mid EPL Level, whereas good local players are Low to Mid Championship Level.
In the 2017 season, the CSL had many top foreign managers. Most noticeably Big Phip Scolari, a Brazilian world cup winner, Andreas Villas Boas, Manuel Pellegrini, Fabio Cappello, Felix Magath, and Roger Schmit.
in the 2018 season the manager list is significantly weaker as clubs have opted to go for local managers or younger foreign managers. of the previous list only Pellegrini, Cappello and Schmit are still in the league.
Setting up a save:
For people starting new saves, I would advise, as a minimum, they load Brazil, S.Korea, Saudi Arabia and Japan. This is to ensure proper functioning of th AFC Champions League. If playing with a database that adds Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau Players, or the January update, it may be wise to load Hong Kong.
I would also advise that people get databases that add Japan and Saudi Arabia, as well as the Chinese National Second Division. Also, a file increasing the TV money in china(roughly 15000000 GBP per club per season) to approximate real amounts may be worth making. I have not attached mine as I modified someone else's file, and cant be bothered to ask permition to share it. Finally, one may want to add a database file that changes Asian competitions. I will attach mine, which increase the reps of japan, Saudi Arabia, China and Thailand while decreasing the reputation of South Korea.
I will update this(I think) when the updates released. Feel free to ask questions. I might answer.
Asia Competition Reps.fmf