This article sought to answer questions concerning the aspects that are changing and those that remains unchanged regarding football in China during Xi’s authoritarian era by comparing the governance of Chinese professional football during this era and during a previously examined former era to provide a point of departure for empirical studies concerning the recent ascent of football in China. At the league-governance level, the Chinese Football Association (CFA) has prioritized the salience of professional football clubs (PFCs). At the club-governance level, the CFA has adopted a gradualist approach to institutional reform by proceeding through a process of introducing private or state-owned enterprises. The actual goal setting remains unchanged, and underachievement of the national football team persists. Comprehensive document analysis that included international peer-reviewed journal articles, books or book chapters, academic reports, policy documents, and influential media in China was performed.