China’s Super League champions Jiangsu FC are out

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Only three months after winning the title, the champions of the top Chinese professional football league disbanded.

Jiangsu FC announced on Sunday that they would cease operations immediately and leave the Chinese Super League without their defending champions.

“Even if we are reluctant to part with the players who have brought us the highest accolades and fans who have shown solidarity with the club, we unfortunately have to make an announcement,” said a statement from the team. “As of today, Jiangsu Football Club will cease operations for its teams.”

Jiangsu FC defeated Guangzhou FC. claiming his first CSL title in November.

Reported money problems for the parent company

Jiangsu FC was owned by retail giant Suning, whose chairman Zhang Jindong anticipated the closure of the franchise in early February due to reports of financial difficulties.

“We will be determined to focus on the retail business and without hesitation we will close and downsize our non-retail business,” said Jindong.

That was Jiangsu FC on November 12th. (Photo by STR / AFP via Getty Images)

A women’s team and youth teams previously run by Suning have also closed their stores. According to the announcement, Suning has been unsuccessfully seeking a buyer for the past six months. Suning continues to hope that a potential buyer will come forward. Jiangsu FC had approximately $ 90 million in debt, according to the Associated Press.

The decision is said to have no impact on Inter Milan

Suning is one of the largest private retailers in China. It also holds a controlling stake in Inter Milan, the Serie A leader, which BBC Sport said will not be affected by Suning’s decision.

Jiangsu FC’s closure comes after a Super League spending spree in recent years to improve the league’s profile among top international leagues such as Serie A, the Premier League and the Bundesliga. CSL clubs have spent to attract top talent from around the world. Jiangsu FC were reportedly on the verge of signing a deal to sign Gareth Bale for $ 24.5 million per season in 2019. That contract was unsuccessful and Bale eventually returned on loan to Tottenham, England.

Less than two years later, Jiangsu FC is no more. At least for now.

More trouble for the Chinese Super League

The Sunday news is the last sign of trouble for CSL. Chinese media reports that the league’s Tianjin Tigers are 10 months behind paying players’ salaries and are looking for new investments following the divestment of the parent company and state-owned Tianjin Teda.

In February, the CSL club Shandong Luneng was banned from participating in the Asian Champions League for violating the financial rules. According to the Asian Football Confederation, the club has broken rules that prohibit teams from owing money to employees or authorities.

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