Chinese Teams Forced To Remove Sponsors From Club Names

The Chinese Football Association forces teams to remove references to investors and the companies that own them, and instead adopt "neutral" names.

Many Chinese first and second division clubs have the names of their owners and sponsors in their names, including the giants Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai SIPG, Tianjin Teda and Beijing Guoan. Most are having the same names since years, and some even have them since the club's foundation.

Chinese Football Association To Force Teams To Remove Company Names From Team Names

The so-called "neutral name" edict says clubs have to remove references to investors and companies that own them. All except of one of the 16 Chinese Super League teams reportedly face having to rebrand - only Shanghai Shenhua could keep the name.

CFA officially published the corporate-free 'neutral name' rule on December 14 2020.

The club name should not involve, or be associated with the company name of any club shareholder.

The policy is part of a wide-ranging football reform policy in China stretching back to 2015 designed to increase interest and make the country a major force in the sport.

Fans are very angryMany of the club's die-hard fans are not happy with the possible new names and call on Chinese FA to allow historic corporate sponsors to remain part of their name. On Dec. 6, the official fan groups of five top teams release a statement to stop the move, though it was unable to stop the CFA.

Outside China, there a few dozen soccer teams that have their owner / sponsor in their name

Yu Zongyang, an interpreter and soccer fan, told modern Chinese news media Sixth Tone "it would be gut-wrenching if his team, Beijing Guoan had to change its name".

“It might feel like a big chunk of my childhood has been gouged out,” Yu said. “It might feel like a slap in the face when I have to explain, in 10 or 20 years’ time, what Guoan is and how it relates to the Beijing soccer team.”

Outside China, there a few dozen soccer teams that have their owner / sponsor in their name, including Red Bull Salzburg, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, New York Red Bulls, Ulsan Hyundai FC and Cruz Azul.

What do you think of team being names by their owner or sponsor? Share your thoughts in the comments below.