Chinese football league system
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The Chinese football league system or league pyramid, refers to the hierarchically interconnected league system for the Chinese Football Association that currently consists of over 100 individual leagues having 2,221 teams, in a series of partially interconnected leagues that are bound together by the principle of promotion and relegation. The top three professional levels contain one division each and have promotion and relegation between the leagues allowing smaller clubs the hypothetical possibility of ultimately rising to the very top of the system. The league system is separated below this point with no promotion or relegation for the semi-professional and amateur teams. The hierarchical system continues and levels have progressively more parallel divisions, which each cover progressively smaller geographic areas.
The highest level of football in China is the Chinese Super League which was founded in 2004. In 2016, The Chinese Super League was declared by the seventh annual Global Sports Salaries Survey as the world's 12th highest-paying sports league in which 47 players — constituting the top 10% — claim more than 81% of the total pot of earnings.The China League One and China League Two are currently the second and third division. The two worst teams from the Chinese Super League are replaced by the two best teams from the China League One at the end of each season. The China League Two is conducted in two groups of 16 teams with the season culminating in a play-off. At the end of a season, the best 3 teams on table promote to China League One, and the worst team of League One has to be relegated. Other 4 clubs from League One (14th, 15th) and League Two (4th, 5th) attend to a play-off tournament, deciding 2 positions at League One. From Season 2019, the club in last position of each group would relegate to regional leagues (Tier 5).
Chinese Champions League is an amateur football league that includes 10 Groups. The members of this league come from 44 regional leagues or cups, which are belong to tier 5 of league system. Tier 5 competitions also have lower leagues to feed.
|1||Chinese Super League |
↓relegate 2 teams
|2||China League One |
↑promote 2 teams, ↓relegate 1+2 teams
|3||China League Two - North
|China League Two - South|
|↑promote 3+2 teams, ↓relegate 2+2 teams (to tier 5)|
|4||Chinese Champions League |
Winners of tier 5 and other teams recommended by regional associations (52 teams total) enter the national stage in 10 groups. Of these, 16 teams qualify for play-off finals.
↑promote 4+2 teams
|5||Shanxi Province FA Super League - 13 clubs
Inner Mongolia FA Super League - 8 clubs (*Autumn-Spring Season)
Shanghai City FA Super League - 10 clubs
Liaoning Province Super League - 6 clubs
Jiangsu Province Amateur Football Clubs Super League - 7 clubs
Zhejiang Province Super League - 11 clubs
Fujian Province FA Super League - 8 clubs
Qilu (Shanndong) Amateur Super League - 11 clubs
Henan Province Amateur Champions League A - 8 clubs
Hubei Province FA Champions League - 16 clubs
Hunan Province FA Super League - 8 clubs
Guangdong Province FA League - 12 clubs (*Autumn-Spring Season)
Guangxi Super League - 8 clubs
Hainan Province Men's Super League - 8 clubs
Chongqing City Amateur Super League - 10 clubs
Sichuan Province Amateur League - 49 clubs
Guizhou Province Organs 11-a-side League One - 8 clubs
Shaanxi FA Super League - 10 clubs
Gansu Province FA Champions League - 8 clubs
Dalian City Urban Super League - 8 clubs (*Autumn-Spring Season)
Qingdao Urban League - 10 clubs
Xiamen City FA League One - 14 clubs
Shenzhen City Urban Super League - 8 clubs
Nanjing City FA Super League - 8 clubs
Wuhan Urban Super League - 8 clubs
Guangzhou City 11-a-side League - 5 clubs
Chengdu Football Champions League - 8 clubs
|6||Chengdu Football League One - 14 clubs
Chongqing City Amateur League One - 12 clubs
Dalian City Urban League One - 16 clubs
Fujian Province FA League One - ? clubs
Suzhou Amateur League One - 8 clubs
Guizhou Province Organs 11-a-side League Two - 8 clubs
Shaanxi FA League One - ? clubs
|7||Dalian City Urban League Two A - 16 clubs
Shaanxi FA League Two - ? clubs ...
|8||Dalian City Urban League Two B - 16 clubs
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