The Chinese Football Association has changed it's stance on who qualifies as foreigners, drastically affecting the club league.
As from January 1, players from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau will no longer be registered as 'home' players, but rather, foreigners.
The issue is that each Chinese club only has three places available for foreigners, meaning that there are a plethora of players from those nations that will miss out on contracts in 2016.
Manoel dos Santos Filho of South China believes the league has missed an opportunity to grow the game.
"They've killed the opportunity," the Brazilian-born forward told the South China Morning Post.
"The decision is very hard and I don't know why they changed the rules.
"Many players are chasing the money that can be made playing in China, which offers big opportunities and the chance to secure your financial future.
"Before these new rules, you could just play there with a Hong Kong passport, but now it’s all over. The decision has actually killed many players' opportunity to play in China."
However, the CFA have allowed for a grace period. If players and their respective clubs reach an agreement before the new year, they could maintain their 'home' player status for the 2016 season.