BEIJING (Reuters) - The Chinese Super League (CSL) season could kick off in late June with the country’s football association preparing various plans to complete the campaign delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The league was scheduled to start on Feb. 22 but was pushed back because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 82,000 people in China, killing 4,633.
“Plan A is to finish the season with 30 rounds,” Chinese Football Association (CFA) President Chen Xuyuan was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.
“We have a Plan B if the league were to kick off in late June and finish in December, and we have also designed Plan C for a later restart.
“If we carry out Plan B, we’ll only have four months because of the calendar of the national team and AFC Champions League... given that, we may divide the 16 teams into two groups and decide the champion and relegations through two phases.”
Chen said matches in the early part of the season would be played without fans in attendance and the governing body would then gradually allow them into venues.
The CFA also announced a proposal to allow all professional clubs to cut the salaries of players and coaches by up to 50% to overcome the financial impact of the pandemic.
The suggested cut would be backdated from March 1 until a week before the 2020 season begins, Xinhua reported.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford