A player exodus looms in the Chinese Super League after announcing massive salary cuts.
Ex-Prem stars including Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins, former Chelsea midfielder Oscar, ex-Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini, Marko Arnautovic and striker Salomon Rondon joined the cash spice trail to the Far East after being tempted by huge salaries and bonuses.
But in a massive U-turn that will have far-reaching consequences, the Chinese Football Association has now introduced stringent regulations to take immediate effect.
Under the new rules, foreign player salaries will be capped at £2.7million per year – around £52,000 per week.
Domestic players will be restricted to earnings of £573,000 per year, or £11,000 per week.
In addition, CSL clubs will be banned from spending more than £69m per year in total, with a maximum £9m on foreign salaries and an average of £344,000 per player.
And clubs that fail to meet the new rules face points deductions – of between six and 24 points – while overpaid players will be BANNED from putting on their boots in games.
Although the measures come into effect from the start of the new season next month, there is a dispensation for players currently under contract, although the limits must be phased in for them over three seasons.
That could mean the departures of under-contract players is not instant, although it is almost certain that the foreign stars will be seeking a way out in the coming months.
Even so, it is hard to believe the likes of Oscar will not be eyeing the exit door as soon as January.
But any attempts to circumvent the rules by fraud or hiding contract payments will lead to relegation and TWO YEAR bans for the players involved, which would be applicable worldwide.
Other former Prem players currently in China include Brazilian ex-Spurs and Barcelona midfielder Paulinho and one-time Tottenham club-mate Mousa Dembele, Australian midfielder Aaron Mooy.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 years ago