CSL kicks off this week, with Shenhua FC calling Shanghai Stadium home
Football fans can return to stadiums and cheer for their teams as the 2023 Chinese Super League kicks off this weekend.
Shanghai Shenhua FC players made their first public appearance at their new home ground Shanghai Stadium in Xuhui District on Wednesday. They will take on Shandong Taishan in their first home match on Sunday.
The club changed ownership this year, with state-owned Juss Group becoming the 100 percent shareholder. Shenhua then shifted its home ground from Hongkou Football Stadium to Shanghai Stadium, which is also under management of Juss.
"I'm really excited to stand here in this stadium today," said Shenhua head coach Wu Jingui. "Thank you to Juss Group and other aspects of the city government for giving the club a rebirth. We will do our best in the new season."
Most CSL clubs are no longer able to afford big-name overseas players after the league was interrupted by the pandemic for three years.
Currently, Shenhua has five foreign players: Portuguese midfielder João Carlos Teixeira, Cameroonian striker Christian Bassogog, French midfielder Ibrahim Amadou, Swiss striker Cephas Malele, and American defender Macario Hing-Glover.
Shanghai Stadium used to be the home ground of another CSL side Shanghai Port, who are based in the SAIC Motor Pudong Arena.
The stadium endured a round of renovations when China was getting ready to host the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. Due to the pandemic, the tournament will be held in Qatar at the beginning of next year.
As Shenhua's new home ground, Shanghai Stadium has been decorated with Shenhua's blue color and other club features. The stadium is now equipped with a new ring-shape screen under its roof, as well as new hi-fi equipment.
16 teams will be taking part in this year's CSL, two fewer than last year. Two of the 16 teams will be relegated by November when the league concludes.
Shenhua's city rival Shanghai Port is visiting Wuhan in Hubei Province for their first match against Wuhan Sanzhen on Saturday.