Shanghai: The new season of the China Football Super League will kick off tomorrow.
Shanghai SIPG Football Club (SIPG FC), controlled by Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG), will start its debut season. Its first match, ironically, will be against a shipyard-backed team.
SIPG took over the football club, formerly known as Shanghai East Asia Football Club, in November 2014 and has been investing to restructure the team since. The team has spent about RMB113m ($18m) in the recent winter transfer window.
In addition to the acquisitions of several international players, SIPG FC also brought in the internationally famous football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson (pictured), who used to lead the England national team and many famous football clubs around the world, as the head coach.
“I believe the football industry in China is currently in the doldrums, however, the government has also been making efforts to revive the industry including offering favorable policies. I think we are in the best development period and the team has potential to achieve great success,” said Chen Xuyuan, president of SIPG.
“SIPG has become one of world’s top port companies in recent years. As a state run company, I think it’s our responsibility to repay society with the joy brought by football,” Chen added.
The new season will start with Shanghai SIPG FC playing Jiangsu Sainty Guoxin FC, a team owned by shipyard Sainty Marine’s parent group Jiangsu Sainty Guoxin.
Shanghai SIPG has an ambitious goal for its first season in the Super League, aiming for a top three finish.