BEIJING (AP) — Players and coaches in the Chinese Super League could have salaries cut by up to 50% to help clubs manage losses from the coronavirus pandemic.

The head of China’s football association said teams would implement temporary player pay cuts of 30% to 50%.

Chen Xuyuan also told state broadcaster CCTV that matches would be resumed on a staggered schedule but gave no specific dates.

Sports in some countries are slowly returning after the lockdown. South Korea’s K-League was set to kick off on Friday and play games in empty stadiums. Taiwan has taken the first steps to bring back sports fans back to venues and will 1,000 fans to attend upcoming baseball games.

The Chinese Football Association issued a statement saying the pay cuts in were not compulsory but urged clubs and players to engage in fair negotiations.

“The COVID-19 epidemic has had a big impact on the soccer industry. All levels of leagues were forced to postpone the 2020 season, which influenced the normal operation of clubs,” the China Daily newspaper on Friday reported the CFA announcement as saying. “With low income and high labor costs, the clubs are facing growing financial pressure.”


The CFA recommended the cuts be backdated to March 1 and should include foreign players, but should exclude players or coaches on low monthly incomes.

China on Friday announced 1 new virus case, a local infection in the northeastern province of Jilin, and 16 new cases of those who have tested positive but are not showing symptoms. No no new deaths were reported. Just 260 people remain hospitalized for having the virus and 890 are under isolation for being suspected cases or for having tested positive but without showing symptoms.

China has reported a total of 4,633 deaths among 82,886 cases since the outbreak started in Wuhan late last year.


More AP soccer: and