58 Chinese football clubs apply for new "neutral" names

2021-01-13 08:35:27 GMT2021-01-13 16:35:27(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

SHANGHAI, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- A total of 58 Chinese football clubs have applied to change their names, with more than 80 percent of applications approved, according to the Chinese Football Association (CFA).

The CFA introduced regulations in December requiring clubs from the Chinese Super League, League One as well as the second and third division leagues to remove reference to sponsors or investors in their names in a bid to keep the club name stable in the long run.

"In the past, the club owners changed quickly in our leagues and therefore club names also had to change. It was not beneficial to cultivating the football culture in China," said CFA president Chen Xuyuan.

Chinese Super League (CSL) outfit Shandong Luneng announced on Wednesday that its new name Shandong Taishan had been approved by the CFA. Fellow CSL outfit Shanghai SIPG also confirmed to Xinhua on Tuesday that it had submitted "Shanghai Haigang" in Chinese - meaning Shanghai port - as its new name.

Earlier, Guangzhou Evergrande changed its name to Guangzhou FC, while city rivals Guangzhou R&F became Guangzhou City.

However, some clubs and their fans that have grown with China's football professionalization are struggling to keep their original names.

Beijing Guoan and Henan Jianye have asked for a delay to the approval process. The former is seeking to retain its Guoan title, and the latter's intended new name "Luoyang Longmen" has been met with protests from its fans. 

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