China suspend their national soccer league for more than three months to increase the chances of the national team qualifying for the world Cup for the first time in 20 years.
The China Football Association said the league will restart on July 15 and run until August. 12 before taking a break until December 12. 1. The break will allow national team coach Li Tie to prepare his team for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, with China tied with Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Vietnam in Group B of the third round of the Asian preliminaries.
The matches will be played at home and away and with strict quarantine regulations in China, play in the Chinese Super League (CSL) would be seriously affected.
China, which has not qualified for the World Cup since it made its debut in 2002, is scheduled to start the next qualifying round against Australia on September 1. Initially, the CSL was scheduled to resume on June 21 following China’s participation in the second Asian qualifying round for Qatar 2022.
However, the requirements for the team to go into quarantine after a last minute change caused the qualifiers to move to the UAE from Suzhou, causing the delay of the national league campaign.
CSL games will continue to be played in two groups at centralized biosecurity centers, with the top four in each group advancing to the championship round.
The China Cup will begin on July 31 and continue through the league close with the final scheduled for November 13 or the following day.