It was announced earlier this week that Chinese multinatinal Ledman Optoelectronic is to sponsor the Segunda Liga, the second tier of professional football in Portugal.
However, in a bizarre twist it has been revealed that the sponsorship deal has a clause which will see it become mandatory that ten teams will have a Chinese player in their side.
Portgual correspondent for World Soccer Magazine Tom Kundert revealed that these players will also have a ‘minimum usage rate’.
The 10 Chinese players “must play in top 10 clubs in 2nd tier, and have minimum usage rate.” I’m no jingoist but this is madness.
— Tom Kundert (@PortuGoal1) January 26, 2016
Ledman’s desire to use this league as development programme for Chinese players may be linked to the fact they also sponsor the top two tiers of Chinese club soccer, the Chinese Super League and China League One. The deal will also see three Chinese assistant coaches employed in the league.
Ledman, The Shenzen-based LED display, lighting and components company, will be the exclusive sponsor of the league and released a statement saying:
“The cooperation between Ledman and Liga Portuguesa De Futebol Profissional, creates a new mode of Chinese brand company internationalization business cooperation, which will promote Chinese and Portuguese’s football business cooperation and football culture in-depth exchanges, and promotes the growth of the Chinese players at the same time, which has positive significance in improving the level of Chinese football.”
This is the latest in a series of Chinese investment in the league, with company Chen Qi, becoming majority shareholder of SAD Torreense last year.
Maurice Brosnan, Pundit Arena