Brazilian striker Alex Teixeira poses for photos upon his arrival at the airport in Nanjing in eastern China's Jiangsu province. Chinese Super League clubs have splashed out millions in the winter transfer window on big names from Europe and South America such as Ramires, Alex Teixeira, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Jackson Martinez and Gervinho. (Color China Photo via AP)
Brazilian striker Alex Teixeira poses for photos upon his arrival at the airport in Nanjing in eastern China's Jiangsu province. Chinese Super League clubs have splashed out millions in the winter traShow more

Chinese Super League spent more during winter transfer window than English Premier League



Beijing // Chinese Super League clubs wrapped up a record spending spree on Friday after football transfers worth a world-beating 331 million euros ($365 million) sent the sport into a spin.

With the winter transfer window set to close at midnight, China has smashed the national record no fewer than four times, culminating in Jiangsu Suning's 50-million-euro purchase of Alex Teixeira.

The high-profile hiring of top players for outlandish sums has suddenly put the Chinese Super League on the map at a time when President Xi Jinping is pushing hard to turn China into a footballing power.

China’s spending in the January-February window outstripped the English Premier League’s 253-million-euro outlay in January, according to figures compiled by industry website Transfermarkt.

It was also more than the next four major European championships combined -- Italy’s Serie A, the German Bundesliga, the Primera Division in Spain and France’s Ligue 1, Transfermarkt said.

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China’s national team is ranked a lowly 93rd in the world, but Xi has declared his hopes of the country one day hosting and winning a World Cup, prompting a flood of money into its top professional teams.

More than half of the CSL’s total spending came on just six players, the data showed, all of them foreign -- three of them Brazilian -- and mostly coming from European teams.

After Brazil’s Teixeira, the second highest purchase was the 42 million euros Asian champions Guangzhou Evergrande paid Atletico Madrid for Colombian forward Jackson Martinez.

Overall, the CSL’s 163 transfers average fee came out at 2.03 million euros, Transfermarkt data showed -- significantly more than the 1.46 million euro mean in England’s Premier League.

China’s big spend comes as the country tries to raise its football game to a level commensurate with its growing economic and military might.

China lost all three of its World Cup matches in 2002, its only appearance, letting in nine goals and scoring none.

Xi’s stated ambitions have been seized on by Chinese business magnates, who openly acknowledge that their footballing investments also have political calculations.

Wanda Group, owned by Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin, has taken a 20 percent stake in Spanish side Atletico Madrid.

In a recent book, Wang reportedly wrote: “The government leaders care about it very much, and the Chinese administration of sports made several appeals, so I came back and am offering support for Chinese football.”

Late last year, state-backed investment firm China Media Capital was part of a consortium that bought a $400 million stake in Premier League giants Manchester City.

The enthusiasm has driven the premium prices for talent, according to Rowan Simons, an author and prominent commentator on Chinese football.

“The buying spree is spurred on by the wish to please the president, so money is no object”, said Simons, adding that the country “is a naive new buyer in this very small market and is ill-equipped to negotiate effectively against the super-agents who wrote the book”.

Even so, the numbers pale compared to the amounts spent during the summer transfer window, when the Premier League racks up its largest figures.

But David Hornby, sports business director of the Mailman brand management group in Shanghai, said it was not hard to imagine the CSL taking the number one spot in overall spending.

“There’s no reason to suggest that spending will slow down... everything in China when they set their minds to it becomes super-charged,” he said.

But opinions vary on whether cold, hard cash, political will and foreign talent are enough to achieve national soccer glory.

Earlier this week, former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said China could “compete well to win the World Cup” in 10 or 15 years’ time, arguing that investments in youth league soccer will help groom domestic talent.

But Mark Dreyer, a sports blogger in Beijing, was less optimistic. “I don’t expect to see China winning the World Cup in my lifetime,” he said.

“Signing foreign stars won’t likely improve the standard of Chinese players,” he added.

“If... this spending sparks renewed interest in the game and that further helps to build a larger fan base, and if the revenues generated are then spent wisely on areas like youth academies, then this could benefit the Chinese game over the long-term -- but there are a lot of ‘ifs’ there.”

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The Cairo Statement

1: Commit to countering all types of terrorism and extremism in all their manifestations

2: Denounce violence and the rhetoric of hatred

3: Adhere to the full compliance with the Riyadh accord of 2014 and the subsequent meeting and executive procedures approved in 2014 by the GCC

4: Comply with all recommendations of the Summit between the US and Muslim countries held in May 2017 in Saudi Arabia.

5: Refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of countries and of supporting rogue entities.

6: Carry out the responsibility of all the countries with the international community to counter all manifestations of extremism and terrorism that threaten international peace and security

Feeding the thousands for iftar

Six industrial scale vats of 500litres each are used to cook the kanji or broth 

Each vat contains kanji or porridge to feed 1,000 people

The rice porridge is poured into a 500ml plastic box

350 plastic tubs are placed in one container trolley

Each aluminium container trolley weighing 300kg is unloaded by a small crane fitted on a truck

Long Shot

Director: Jonathan Levine

Starring: Charlize Theron, Seth Rogan

Four stars

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

How to improve Arabic reading in early years

One 45-minute class per week in Standard Arabic is not sufficient

The goal should be for grade 1 and 2 students to become fluent readers

Subjects like technology, social studies, science can be taught in later grades

Grade 1 curricula should include oral instruction in Standard Arabic

First graders must regularly practice individual letters and combinations

Time should be slotted in class to read longer passages in early grades

Improve the appearance of textbooks

Revision of curriculum should be undertaken as per research findings

Conjugations of most common verb forms should be taught

Systematic learning of Standard Arabic grammar

THE SPECS

Jaguar F-Pace SVR

Engine: 5-litre supercharged V8​​​​​​​

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Power: 542bhp​​​​​​​

Torque: 680Nm​​​​​​​

Price: Dh465,071

Profile box

Company name: baraka
Started: July 2020
Founders: Feras Jalbout and Kunal Taneja
Based: Dubai and Bahrain
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $150,000
Current staff: 12
Stage: Pre-seed capital raising of $1 million
Investors: Class 5 Global, FJ Labs, IMO Ventures, The Community Fund, VentureSouq, Fox Ventures, Dr Abdulla Elyas (private investment)

TEACHERS' PAY - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Pay varies significantly depending on the school, its rating and the curriculum. Here's a rough guide as of January 2021:

- top end schools tend to pay Dh16,000-17,000 a month - plus a monthly housing allowance of up to Dh6,000. These tend to be British curriculum schools rated 'outstanding' or 'very good', followed by American schools

- average salary across curriculums and skill levels is about Dh10,000, recruiters say

- it is becoming more common for schools to provide accommodation, sometimes in an apartment block with other teachers, rather than hand teachers a cash housing allowance

- some strong performing schools have cut back on salaries since the pandemic began, sometimes offering Dh16,000 including the housing allowance, which reflects the slump in rental costs, and sheer demand for jobs

- maths and science teachers are most in demand and some schools will pay up to Dh3,000 more than other teachers in recognition of their technical skills

- at the other end of the market, teachers in some Indian schools, where fees are lower and competition among applicants is intense, can be paid as low as Dh3,000 per month

- in Indian schools, it has also become common for teachers to share residential accommodation, living in a block with colleagues

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

Which honey takes your fancy?

Al Ghaf Honey

The Al Ghaf tree is a local desert tree which bears the harsh summers with drought and high temperatures. From the rich flowers, bees that pollinate this tree can produce delicious red colour honey in June and July each year

Sidr Honey

The Sidr tree is an evergreen tree with long and strong forked branches. The blossom from this tree is called Yabyab, which provides rich food for bees to produce honey in October and November. This honey is the most expensive, but tastiest

Samar Honey

The Samar tree trunk, leaves and blossom contains Barm which is the secret of healing. You can enjoy the best types of honey from this tree every year in May and June. It is an historical witness to the life of the Emirati nation which represents the harsh desert and mountain environments

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Common OCD symptoms and how they manifest

Checking: the obsession or thoughts focus on some harm coming from things not being as they should, which usually centre around the theme of safety. For example, the obsession is “the building will burn down”, therefore the compulsion is checking that the oven is switched off.

Contamination: the obsession is focused on the presence of germs, dirt or harmful bacteria and how this will impact the person and/or their loved ones. For example, the obsession is “the floor is dirty; me and my family will get sick and die”, the compulsion is repetitive cleaning.

Orderliness: the obsession is a fear of sitting with uncomfortable feelings, or to prevent harm coming to oneself or others. Objectively there appears to be no logical link between the obsession and compulsion. For example,” I won’t feel right if the jars aren’t lined up” or “harm will come to my family if I don’t line up all the jars”, so the compulsion is therefore lining up the jars.

Intrusive thoughts: the intrusive thought is usually highly distressing and repetitive. Common examples may include thoughts of perpetrating violence towards others, harming others, or questions over one’s character or deeds, usually in conflict with the person’s true values. An example would be: “I think I might hurt my family”, which in turn leads to the compulsion of avoiding social gatherings.

Hoarding: the intrusive thought is the overvaluing of objects or possessions, while the compulsion is stashing or hoarding these items and refusing to let them go. For example, “this newspaper may come in useful one day”, therefore, the compulsion is hoarding newspapers instead of discarding them the next day.

Source: Dr Robert Chandler, clinical psychologist at Lighthouse Arabia

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

 

The biog

Favourite food: Tabbouleh, greek salad and sushi

Favourite TV show: That 70s Show

Favourite animal: Ferrets, they are smart, sensitive, playful and loving

Favourite holiday destination: Seychelles, my resolution for 2020 is to visit as many spiritual retreats and animal shelters across the world as I can

Name of first pet: Eddy, a Persian cat that showed up at our home

Favourite dog breed: I love them all - if I had to pick Yorkshire terrier for small dogs and St Bernard's for big

Champion v Champion (PFL v Bellator)

Heavyweight: Renan Ferreira v Ryan Bader
Middleweight: Impa Kasanganay v Johnny Eblen
Featherweight: Jesus Pinedo v Patricio Pitbull
Catchweight: Ray Cooper III v Jason Jackson

Showcase Bouts
Heavyweight: Bruno Cappelozza (former PFL World champ) v Vadim Nemkov (former Bellator champ)
Light Heavyweight: Thiago Santos (PFL title contender) v Yoel Romero (Bellator title contender)
Lightweight: Clay Collard (PFL title contender) v AJ McKee (former Bellator champ)
Featherweight: Gabriel Braga (PFL title contender) v Aaron Pico (Bellator title contender)
Lightweight: Biaggio Ali Walsh (pro debut) v Emmanuel Palacios (pro debut)
Women’s Lightweight: Claressa Shields v Kelsey DeSantis
Featherweight: Abdullah Al Qahtani v Edukondal Rao
Amateur Flyweight: Malik Basahel v Vinicius Pereira

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Company profile

Name: The Concept

Founders: Yadhushan Mahendran, Maria Sobh and Muhammad Rijal

Based: Abu Dhabi

Founded: 2017

Number of employees: 7

Sector: Aviation and space industry

Funding: $250,000

Future plans: Looking to raise $1 million investment to boost expansion and develop new products

Temple numbers

Expected completion: 2022

Height: 24 meters

Ground floor banquet hall: 370 square metres to accommodate about 750 people

Ground floor multipurpose hall: 92 square metres for up to 200 people

First floor main Prayer Hall: 465 square metres to hold 1,500 people at a time

First floor terrace areas: 2,30 square metres  

Temple will be spread over 6,900 square metres

Structure includes two basements, ground and first floor 

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

 

 

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5


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