July 6, 2020 / 7:16 AM / a month ago

CSL must watch players' mental health when season begins, says Zhao

(Reuters) - Former China international Zhao Junzhe has asked the organisers of the Chinese Super League (CSL) to take steps to help players relax when the 2020 campaign begins in closed-off areas later this month.

The 16-team CSL, originally scheduled to start on Feb. 22 but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will kick off on July 25 with clubs based in closed environments in two hubs - Suzhou near Shanghai and Dalian in the northeast of China.

“This needs some measures to help the players relax, and we are inquiring with the Chinese Football Association about that,” Zhao, the chief executive of Shijiazhuang Ever Bright, was quoted as saying by state news agency Xinhua.

“Some recreational facilities will be needed in the teams’ hotel.”

Jiangsu Suning midfielder Wu Xi echoed Zhao’s views.

“As we’re to play a league in a closed environment, I hope the organisers will find some ways to ease our players’ stress,” he added.

Teams will play a round robin with the top four qualifying for an eight-team “championship” stage and the bottom four from each group going into a “relegation” phase.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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