The professionalisation and commercialisation of football in China began in 1993, followed in 1994 by the launch of a league system that was modelled on the systems of Western countries. With the support of the market, football began to become self-sufficient and no longer reliant on government support. State-owned football clubs were replaced by an increasing number of privately owned and collectively owned clubs. Athletes started to play football for their own sakes, pursuing fortune, honour and personal excellence. However, the reform did not touch the most fundamental part of the Chinese sport system as the football league authority was still under the tight control of the government. The Chinese Football Association (CFA), the governing body of the league, is not an independent governing body and, for a long time, football clubs were not involved in high-level policy and decision-making. The football league faced a crisis in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when a series of match fixing scandals turned football fans' passion into resentment. The Sports Ministry launched a package of new reforms in the mid-2000s in an attempt to fix the league's problems. These reforms included anti-gambling and anti-corruption campaigns and introduced a degree of power sharing between the clubs and the CFA. However, further structural changes to government and governance are required for the future of Chinese football. © 2013 © 2013 Taylor & Francis.