Chinese Football Association

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Chinese Football Association
Chinese Football Association logo.svg
  • 1924 (original)
  • 1955 (as CFA)[1]
FIFA affiliation1931
AFC affiliation1974
EAFF affiliation2002
PresidentChen Xuyuan
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 of football in the People's Republic of China.[2][3] Originally formed in Beijing in 1924, the association would affiliate itself with FIFA in 1931 before relocating to Taiwan following the end of Chinese Civil War (see Chinese Taipei Football Association). During 1955 in Beijing, the CFA refused to affiliate itself with any other major association until it joined the Asian Football Confederation in 1974,[4] followed up by FIFA once more in 1979. Since rejoining FIFA, the CFA claims to be a non-governmental and a nonprofit organization, but in fact the CFA is the same bureau with Management Center of Football, which is a department of the Chinese State General Administration of Sports.[5]



The original China Football Association was founded in 1924. In 1931, it affiliated itself with FIFA, but was relocated to Taiwan following the end of Chinese Civil War, which later became the Chinese Taipei football organization. The current Chinese Football Association was founded in China after 1949.[5]


In 1994, the CFA formed a professional league consisting of the Chinese Jia-A League and the Chinese Jia-B League, each having twelve clubs with two clubs being promoted and relegated from their respective leagues every year.[6] Beginning with the 2004 season, the former Chinese Jia-A League was replaced by the Chinese Super League, with the Chinese Jia-B League renamed as the new China League One.

National teams[edit]

China also has national football teams for both men and women. Historically, the women have been more competitive internationally than the men, losing in a penalty shootout to the United States in the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup final, and also finishing fourth in the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup.

In 2008 China topped the 2008 Summer Olympics medal table for the first time in their history, however despite football being the most predominant team sport played within the country the men's U-23 team underperformed within the competition.[7]

2009–2013 match-fixing investigation[edit]

On October 21, 2009 The China's paramount leader at the time Hu Jintao publicly expressed concern for the development of Chinese football.[8]On November 18, 2009, a Task force was set up, and they quickly concluded that match-fixing and illegal gambling syndicates had infiltrated every aspect of the Chinese game and were the biggest concern for the development of Chinese football.[9] On January 21, 2010 the Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China would confirm the arrests of Vice chairman Nan Yong and former Head of refereeing and the current women's football chief Zhang Jianqiang for accepting bribes as well as their knowledge match-fixing during their tenures.[10] This was eventually followed with the arrest of former Vice chairman Xie Yalong on October 6, 2010 for the same crimes.[11]

Wei Di, who had previously worked for the State General Administration of Sports, was immediately brought in as the next Vice chairman and intended to kick corruption out of the Chinese game. One of his first assignments was to demote top tier clubs Chengdu Blades, Guangzhou F.C. and permanently ban Qingdao Hailifeng F.C. for their involvements in match-fixing.[12] He would go on to permanently ban over 33 Officials, Referees, Players and Coaches as well as voiding the 2003 league title during his tenure.[13]

Since 2014[edit]

While Wei Di may have achieved his goal of kicking corruption out of the Chinese game, he was criticized for his lack of football knowledge and bowing down to sponsorship pressure when he hired José Antonio Camacho to coach the men's national team who failed to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup as well as succumbing to their worst ever defeat of 8-0 to Brazil and subsequently guiding China to their worst ever FIFA World Rankings of 109.[14] These underwhelming results as well as the political change of Xi Jinping as the new General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 2012, saw Wei Di replaced by Zhang Jian.[15]

Club name neutralization[edit]

In December 2020, the CFA issued a policy to "neutralize" the names of all profesional football clubs (俱乐部名称中性化): club names must be "neutral" and cannot contain any term of a commercial nature, and non-Chinese characters cannot be used. Starting from the 2021 season, the CFA will not grant registration to clubs whose names do not meet the requirement.[16][17] Most Chinese football clubs had to be renamed. There were some debates as to whether or not some long-existing club names, for example, "Shandong Taishan" and "Beijing Guoan", were acceptable. After Henan Jianye F.C. was renamed to "Luoyang Longmen F.C.", club fans protested in front of the club stadium. The "neutral name" rule might also worsen the already existing financial problem of the clubs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some clubs, including the 2020 top-tier league winner Jiangsu F.C., and League One team Beijing Renhe F.C., were dissolved after their renaming.[18]

Member associations[edit]

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

Chinese Football Association officials[edit]

When the Chinese Football Association re-established themselves in 1955, they would be a subordinate of the General Administration of Sport and would hire a president who had served with the Chinese national football team as either a manager or player during their career. This would change in 1989 when the association demanded more professionalism and started to separate itself as a non-governmental and a nonprofit organization and hired a first vice president, which is usually held by the head of the governmental agency—Management Center of Football,[note 1] to oversee the development of football in China. Dealing with the administration of disciplinary matters, the league and general organization of the national team, including the hiring and dismissing of national team managers, has made this role become the most prominent position within the whole of the CFA, while the role of the president has become purely ceremonial. The headquarters are located in Beijing. The current president is Cai Zhenhua, and the first vice president as well as the general secretary is Zhang Jian, who is the person in charge actually.

Name Position Source
China Chen Xuyuan President [20][21]
China Du Zhaocai Vice President [20][22]
China Sun Wen 2nd Vice President [23]
China Gao Hongbo 3rd Vice President [24]
Louis Liu Yi General Secretary [20][25]
n/a Treasurer
Belgium Chris van Puyvelde Technical Director [20][26]
China Li Tie Team Coach (Men's) [20][27]
China Jia Xiuquan Team Coach (Women's) [20]
China Dai Xiaowei Media/Communications Manager [20]
n/a Futsal Coordinator
China Liu Tiejun Referee Coordinator [20]

CFA competitions[edit]

Beach football[edit]

  • Beach Football Championship

Current title holders[edit]

Competition Year Champions Title Runners-up Next edition
Chinese Super League 2020 2021
China League One 2020 2021
China League Two 2020 2021
Chinese FA Super Cup 2020 2021
Chinese FA Cup 2020 2021
Chinese Women's Super League 2020 2021
Chinese Women's FA Super Cup 2020 2021
Chinese Women's FA Cup 2020 2021


  1. ^ Management Center of Football is in fact the same bureau with CFA.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Football - Official Website of the Chinese Olympic Committeeb".
  2. ^ "Chinese officials want clue to Japan's soccer success|China". China Daily. 2011-10-19. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
  3. ^ Frank, Joshua (June 19, 2010). "Missing from the World Cup? China - Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  4. ^ "AFC Bars Israel From All Its Competitions". The Straits Times. Reuters. 16 September 1974.
  5. ^ a b "Chinese Football Association". 1955-01-03. Archived from the original on 2012-04-04. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  6. ^ "Chinese FA | 10 Football Associations | EAFF: East Asian Football Federation". EAFF. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  7. ^ "The final count: China's gold rush". August 24, 2008. Archived from the original on 2014-01-03. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  8. ^ "新华社:胡锦涛指引中国足球方向 改革乃势在必行". 2009-10-21. Archived from the original on 2012-12-03. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  9. ^ "反赌获数百人黑名单 酝酿十年国家领导人关注". 2009-11-22. Archived from the original on 2009-11-26. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  10. ^ "China football ex-chiefs Nan Yong and Xie Yalong jailed". 13 June 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  11. ^ "Former soccer officials arrested for bribery". 2010-10-06. Retrieved 2015-04-17.
  12. ^ "Chengdu Blades demoted". 23 February 2010. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  13. ^ "China Strips Shenhua of 2003 League Title, Bans 33 People for Life". 2013-02-18. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  14. ^ "Brazil vs China Report". September 11, 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  15. ^ "Wei Di steps down as soccer chief: report". January 17, 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  16. ^ 程善 (2020-12-07). "为何集体对中性名一刀切不满?曾有一项合理动议". 足球报. Archived from the original on 2021-02-03. Retrieved 2021-01-29.
  17. ^ 祁东 (2020-12-14). "中国足协:俱乐部全部使用中性名,不得含有商号或品牌名称". 澎湃新闻. Archived from the original on 2021-02-02. Retrieved 2021-01-29.
  18. ^ "江苏苏宁:中超新科冠军"停止运营"与中国职业足球的多重困境". BBC. BBC. 2021-03-02. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  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 "Member Association - China PR -".
  21. ^ "The - The Asian Football Confederation". The AFC. Retrieved 2020-08-24.
  22. ^ "The - The Asian Football Confederation". The AFC. Retrieved 2020-08-24.
  23. ^ "The - The Asian Football Confederation". The AFC. Retrieved 2020-08-24.
  24. ^ "The - The Asian Football Confederation". The AFC. Retrieved 2020-08-24.
  25. ^ "The - The Asian Football Confederation". The AFC. Retrieved 2020-08-24.
  26. ^ "The - The Asian Football Confederation". The AFC. Retrieved 2020-08-24.
  27. ^ "The - The Asian Football Confederation". The AFC. Retrieved 2020-08-24.

External links[edit]