Chinese Football Association

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Chinese Football Association
FIFA affiliation1931
AFC affiliation1974
EAFF affiliation2002
PresidentSong Kai Edit this at Wikidata
Chinese Football Association
Simplified Chinese中国足球协会
Traditional Chinese中國足球協會

The Chinese Football Association (CFA) is the governing body for association football, beach soccer and futsal in the People's Republic of China (Mainland China). The CFA organizes the men's and women's national teams and administers the country's professional leagues as well as organizing the national knockout cup competition Chinese FA Cup. As members of East Asian Football Federation its national teams are eligible for the East Asian Football Championship and the country's membership in AFC allows teams to participate in that organizations club and national team competitions. China is also a member of FIFA and is therefore eligible to play in the World Cup.


Founded in 1924, the Chinese Football Association became members of FIFA in 1931 and competed internationally at the 1936[2] and 1948[3] Olympic games. Following the end of Chinese Civil War in 1949, both the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC) contended to be the sole legitimate government of "China", and claimed sovereignty over both mainland China and Taiwan.[4][5] On 14 June 1952, FIFA acknowledged that the CFA on Mainland China, not the Republic of China Football Association (ROCFA) located on Taiwan, was the recognized authority over Chinese Football with their membership dating to 1931.[6] Taiwan was admitted as a member of FIFA in June 1954 over the objections of the CFA and the PRC government at the 29th FIFA Congress in Bern.[7]

The Chinese Football Association's objection to Taiwan's membership in FIFA continued with the organization offering proposals for the island's expulsion at the next two FIFA Congresses in 1956 and 1958. Then on 8 July 1958 the CFA notified FIFA of its withdraw as a member of the federation. FIFA stipulations at the time required that once a withdraw be announced it must be confirmed three months later by registered mail. With no such confirmation received, FIFA's Executive Committee still considered ACAF a member but all inquiries to the CFA or PRC were returned stating China no longer recognized FIFA's authority. At a meeting of FIFA's Executive Committee in late October 1959, Victor Granatkin, the USSR Vice President of FIFA, reported that from his discussions with Chinese authorities, the CFA would only rescind its withdraw after the expulsion of Taiwan from the organization. The situation was resolved at FIFA's 42nd Congress when the Executive Committee's compromise proposal to allow Taiwan to remain a member of FIFA under the name Chinese Taipei Football Association and to readmit the Chinese Football Association was passed on 7 July 1980.[7]

In 1992 the CFA under the auspices of the General Administration of Sport of China released plan to improve the quality of football in the nation. The plan included hiring Klaus Schlappner to coach the national team and as a technical adviser for the football federation and had the stated goals of attempting to enter the 1994 World Cup, to be among the top five teams in the 1995 Women's World Cup, qualify for the 1996 Olympic Games, represent Asia in the 1998 World Cup, to reach the quarter-finals of the 2000 Olympic Games, and to be among the top four teams in the 2002 World Cup. Then in 1998, the then-Minister of Sports announced a ten-year plan for Chinese football with goals to reach the World Cup finals and become one of the top sixteen teams in the world by 2002.[8]

In 2015, CCP general secretary Xi Jinping set an aggressive plan to make the Chinese men's national team the number one footballing nation in Asia by 2030 and the world's number one by 2050. Corruption within Chinese football has factored into the program missing government targets and in 2022 Communist Party officials launched an anti-corruption probe resulting in eight footballing officials being investigated for "suspected of violations of discipline and law".[9]

National teams[edit]

Men's national team[edit]

The China national football team (simplified Chinese: 中国国家足球队; traditional Chinese: 中國國家足球隊; pinyin: Zhōngguó guójiā zúqiú duì represents the People's Republic of China in international association football. Since rejoining the international football community, the team achieved their highest FIFA ranking of 37 in December 1998.[10]

The men's national team has won the EAFF East Asian Cup in 2005[11] and 2010,[12] was runner-up at the AFC Asian Cup in 1984[13] and 2004,[14] and made its sole FIFA World Cup appearance in 2002, losing all matches without scoring a goal.[15]

Women's national team[edit]

The China women's national football team (Chinese: 中国国家女子足球队; pinyin: Zhōngguó Guójiā Nǚzǐ Zúqiú Duì), represents the People's Republic of China in international association football. The team is colloquially referred to as "Zhōngguó Nǚzú" (Chinese: 中国女足, and has been nicknamed the "Steel Roses" (Chinese: 钢玫瑰).[16] The team achieved their highest FIFA ranking of 4 in 2003.[10]

The women's team has won AFC Women's Asian Cup a record 9 times in 1986, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2006, and 2022, and were runners-up two times in 2003 and 2008. They were also runners-up at the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup.[17][18]

Professional leagues[edit]

Professional football in China is organized by the CFA and currently consists of four professional leagues organized in a hierarchical format with promotion and relegation between the leagues. The Chinese Football Association Super League is the top flight of professional football in China after a rebranding of the National Football Jia A League in 2004. Also founded in 2004, the Chinese Football Association China League is the second tier of professional football. The Chinese Football Association Division Two League, founded in 1956 as the second level, the league was demoted to the third level in 1989. The Chinese Football Association Member Association Champions League makes up the fourth level of football with relegated teams playing to league run by the regional CFA member football association.

League system[edit]


League(s) / Division(s)


Chinese Super League
16 clubs

↓ 2 clubs ↑ 2 clubs

China League One
16 clubs

↓ 2 clubs ↑ 2 clubs

China League Two
16 clubs

↓ 4 clubs ↑ 4 clubs

Chinese Football Association Member Association Champions League
56 clubs

Member associations[edit]

As of 2015, there are total 44 member associations directly affiliated to CFA.[19] The members are:



Name Position Source
China Song Kai President [20][21]
China Sun Wen Vice President [20][21]
China Xu Jiren 2nd Vice President [20][21]
China Yang Xu 3rd Vice President [20][21]
China Yuan Yongqing General Secretary [20][21]
n/a Technical Director [20][21]
Serbia Aleksandar Janković Team Coach (Men's) [20][21]
China Shui Qingxia Team Coach (Women's) [20][21]
China Sun Baojie Chairperson of the Referees Committee [20]
China Mao Heming Referee Coordinator [20]

List of Past Presidents and Vice Presidents[edit]


  1. ^ "Football – Official Website of the Chinese Olympic Committeeb".
  2. ^ "Chinese Olympic team 1936".
  3. ^ "Chinese Olympic team 1948".
  4. ^ Hudson, Christopher (2014). The China Handbook. Routledge. p. 59. ISBN 9781134269662.
  5. ^ Rigger, Shelley (2002). Politics in Taiwan: Voting for Reform. Routledge. p. 60. ISBN 9781134692972.
  6. ^ "1949年-1979年中国足球国家队大事记". 19 March 2007. Archived from the original on 11 September 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  7. ^ a b Homburg, H. (2006). "FIFA and the "Chinese Question", 1954-1980: an Exercise of Statutes". Historical Social Research. GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. 31 (1): 69–87. JSTOR 20762103.
  8. ^ Vandenberg, Layne (9 March 2018). "History of the People's Republic of China and FIFA". Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  9. ^ "Prominent Sports Official Named In Xi Jinping's Chinese Football Corruption Investigation". 1 April 2022. Retrieved 1 April 2023.
  10. ^ a b "FIFA World Ranking". Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  11. ^ "East Asian Championship 2005".
  12. ^ "East Asian Championship 2010".
  13. ^ "Asian Nations Cup 1984".
  14. ^ "Asian Nations Cup 2004".
  15. ^ "World Cup 2002 - Match Details".
  16. ^ "Wang snatches Olympic football for the Steel Roses". FIFA. 13 April 2021. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  17. ^ "Asian Women's Championship".
  18. ^ "Women's World Cup 1999 (USA)".
  19. ^ "2015中国足球协会业余联赛大区赛分区情况". Chinese Football Association. April 29, 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-29.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Member Association - China PR -". 6 October 2022.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h "The - The Asian Football Confederation". The AFC. Retrieved 2020-08-24.

External links[edit]