Elkeson first non-Chinese soccer player to be called up for national team
Shanghai's Elkeson in action during the AFC Champions League group H soccer match between Sydney FC and Shanghai SIPG in Sydney, Australia, Apr. 10, 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/DEAN LEWINS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
Elkeson Shanghai SIPG controls the ball against Terry Antonis of Victory during the AFC Champions League Group F match between Melbourne Victory of Australia and Shanghai SIPG of China at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, Apr. 18, 2018. EPA-EFE FILE/JOE CASTRO AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
Shanghai, China, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- Brazil's Elkeson de Oliveira Cardoso will be the first soccer player without Chinese ancestry to play for China, local media reported Thursday.
Elkeson, who has been playing in the Chinese Super League since 2013, was called up by the team's Italian coach Marcelo Lippi to debut on Sep. 10 in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against the Maldives.
The player, who swapped his native Brazilian citizenship for that of China, which does not allow dual nationality, has helped his club Guangzhou Evergrande to win two Asian Champions League championships.
In order to circumvent the restrictive laws of Chinese soccer against calling up foreign-born players, many players have become naturalized citizens of the country in recent years.
Arsenal player Li Ke, whose name in English is Nico Yennaris, earlier this year signed up to Beijing Sinobo Guan FC and swapped his British passport for a Chinese one. However his mother is Chinese.
In the face of an increase in naturalizations, in March the Chinese Football Association (CFA) issued a directive stipulating rules governing the registration and transfer of players who have recently obtained Chinese nationality or are in the process of doing so.
According to the directive, the players must know the national anthem, flag and emblem as well as the history of the Communist Party of China.
They must also study the country's culture and history, and learn the language.
The rules of Chinese soccer, created to check the wave of incoming foreign player signings, also limits the number of non-Chinese playing in a team at the same time to three.
In May 2017, the CFA approved a 100 percent tax on overseas transfers in a bid to stem the multi-million dollar signings of overseas players. EFE-EPA