By Michael Church
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese football's most successful club Guangzhou Evergrande have adopted the new name 'Guangzhou FC' ahead of the 2021 Chinese Super League season in line with regulations put in place by the country’s football authorities.
Chinese media reported on Friday an announcement was made to the National Equities Exchange and Quotations to formalise the move by the club, who have won eight league titles over the last decade as well as two Asian Champions League crowns.
The move comes as Chinese authorities attempt to erase the names of owners and shareholders from teams within the country’s professional game with a view to adopting a neutral model. Club crests and logos are also due to change.
CSL champions Jiangsu Suning have already announced they will become Jiangsu FC while Guangzhou’s cross-city rivals will change from Guangzhou R&F to Guangzhou City.
Last season’s Chinese FA Cup winners, Shandong Luneng, will now be known as Shandong Taishan.
There has been some resistance, however, with sections of Henan Jianye’s fanbase incensed by a proposal to switch the club’s name to Luoyang Longmen.
Videos posted online showed supporters destroying shirts as well as protests outside the team’s stadium.
Beijing Guoan fans have also complained about the impending change, with a supporters group paying to have the slogan “Our name is Beijing Guoan” printed on the side of a bus in December.
The club, however, competed under the name Beijing FC in the most recent edition of the Asian Champions League and are expected to keep it when the CSL kicks off in March.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)