The Chinese Football Association has implemented a restriction on Chinese Super League clubs buying foreign players, making it so clubs in debt must match the transfer fee of a foreign player with a donation to a development fund.
Per ESPN FC's Michael Church, the CFA released a statement explaining the decision: "To benefit the healthy and steady development of professional football leagues and curb the irrational spending on players, those clubs which are in the red should pay the same sums of money as they are spending on buying players to the Chinese Football Development Fund."
The tax will be imposed from June 19 when the CSL's summer transfer window opens.
Sky Sports' Kaveh Solhekol reported the rule casts doubt on big-money signings from Europe this summer, though financier Alexander Jarvis doesn't believe it will have a significant impact:
Alexander Jarvis @Ajarvis8
@SkyKaveh Deals will still happen. CSL clubs will just inflate the sponsorship deals to get deals through.2017-5-25 07:00:15
The CFA also increased the quota of domestic players under the age of 23 that must be in the starting lineup from a minimum of one—the number must now be equal to the number of foreign players starting.
The increased quota should prevent managers getting around the rule by fielding a youngster before substituting them early on, for which Andre-Villas Boas of Shanghai SIPG and a number of other coaches have received criticism this season.
According to Forbes' Andrew Brennan, the CFA has also announced it will reduce the club quota for overseas players to four, down from five, and only three will be allowed on the pitch at the same time.
Brennan reported the outlandish transfer fees and wages spent on foreign players has "financially burdened" clubs in the CSL as it has created a "broiling expense bubble."
He added that the inflated total of such investments—to the tune of $1.15 billion—significantly outweighs "the economic value brought to the CSL through viewership, foreign investment and value."
The Guardian's Steve Price broke down just a few of the biggest transfers to involve the CSL, with Oscar, Carlos Tevez, Jackson Martinez and Ramires heading to four of China's biggest clubs for a combined total of £175 million.
That's not including Hulk, Alex Teixeira, Ezequiel Lavezzi or Axel Witsel, while Tevez alone will earn around £64 million over the course of two years with Shanghai Shenhua thanks to a weekly wage of approximately £615,000.