Hong Kong players have reacted with dismay after the Chinese Football Association declared that from now on they would count as ‘foreign’ players in China’s leagues.
On Monday, the Chinese Football Association announced players from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau would no longer be registered as “home players”, starting from January 1.
They would instead take up one of the three foreign-player slots clubs are allowed in the China League – and that makes it far less likely for Hong Kong players to earn lucrative transfers across the border.
“They’ve killed the opportunity,” said South China’s Brazilian-born forward Manoel dos Santos Filho.
“The decision is very hard and I don’t know why they changed the rules,” said the player, known as Itaparica and who obtained his Hong Kong passport in November.
“Many players are chasing the money that can be made playing in China, which offers big opportunities and the chance to secure your financial future.
“Before these new rules, you could just play there with a Hong Kong passport, but now it’s all over. The decision has actually killed many players’ opportunity to play in China.”
However, the CFA did include a grace period, saying if the players and their clubs could reach an agreement before January 1 and register with the CFA, they could retain ‘home’ player status in the new season.
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