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Chinese Super League offers a lesson in how to kill a sport

Why has the world's biggest football market failed to takeoff?

"What (football) fan culture there has been over the years has been pretty much destroyed," said Mark Dreyer, an expert on China's sporting ambitions and author of Sporting Superpower.   © Reuters

SUNSHINE COAST, Australia -- In the opening round of the Chinese Super League last month, two teams -- Shandong Tiashin in orange kit and Zhejiang in white -- battled out an eager contest on Hainan Island in southern China.

A smattering of non-Chinese names dotted both team's starting lineups, and the game zipped about at a decent pace. Shots of focused coaches: check. Close-ups of serious players, pointing, shouting: check. Some slick ball movement, willing off-ball darts into space: check. So far so good.

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