Why the Chinese Super League 2017 Began in an Empty Stadium

With a record transfer spend among its constituent teams and unprecedented levels of interest from Europe, the Chinese Super League kicked off on Friday in front of an empty stadium.

Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng hosted Liaoning Whowin in the 52,888-capacity Guiyang Olympic Sports Center. But crowd trouble at the end of last season during the China League One game against Tianjin Quanjian meant the Chinese Football Association meted out a one-game ban on fans entering the stadium.

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Guangzhou Evergrande celebrate at the end of their Chinese Super League football match against Beijing Guoan in Guangzhou, March 5. The Chinese Super League began on Friday in front of an empty crowd. STR/AFP/Getty

The game ended in a 1-1 draw, with Nikica Jelavic, formerly of Everton and Hull City, scoring the equalizer in the second half.

Shanghai SIPG, managed by former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur coach Andre Villas-Boas, leads the nascent CSL table after one game of the season.Try Newsweek: Subscription offers

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