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AFP
February 15, 2020

Virus causes chaos in Chinese football

Sports

AFP
February 15, 2020

HONG KONG: The new coronavirus has scattered Chinese football clubs across the globe, with homesick players training for a season that has no start date and teams from other countries too scared to play them.

The Chinese Super League (CSL) was supposed to start later this month but the campaign was indefinitely postponed by the outbreak that has killed nearly 1,500 people and is centred on the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The CSL season will not begin until early April at the earliest, according to state media, but the start date remains uncertain while the virus continues to spread in China and other countries.Chinese clubs have flown out to Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand and Japan for pre-season training, despite having no idea when the campaign will begin or when they can safely return home.

Meanwhile China’s women’s Olympic team were forced to exercise in the corridor of the Brisbane hotel where they were quarantined, in a stark illustration of the challenges facing Chinese football. Wuhan Zall, who finished sixth in the CSL last season, landed in Spain for a training camp near Malaga at the end of January, where they were met by medical personnel. None of the players or staff showed any symptoms.