Chinese Football Association disqualifies six clubs over financial concerns

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The Chinese Football Association (CFA) has disqualified six clubs from its professional leagues for the 2021 season, due to financial problems.

After years of overspending by many clubs, the disqualifications are part of a longer-term initiative by the CFA to tackle financial mismanagement within its football leagues.

In recent seasons, the association has demanded that clubs meet stricter financial criteria before entering league seasons. It also introduced measures, including salary and expenditure ceilings.

The clubs disqualified this season are Chinese Super League champions Jiangsu FC; China’s Premier League second division clubs Beijing Renhe, Inner Mongolia Zhongyou and Taizhou Yuanda; and two third tier clubs, Jiangsu Yancheng and Shenzhen Bogang.

Another Super League team facing disqualification, the Tianjin Jinmen Tigers, have met the CFA’s qualifying criteria in time to qualify for this season. Local media reported that an organization linked to the local government in Tianjin takes control of the club.

The Xinhua News Service reported that the CFA pointed out that the number of clubs disqualified this year was significantly lower than the 16 that suffered the same fate last year. The association said this year’s disqualified teams had been affected by financial problems with their owners, the downturn in business caused by the pandemic and the demands to play leagues in bio-secure bubbles.

Jiangsu, which was previously headed by struggling Chinese retail and sports group Suning, is reportedly not yet fully disbanded, despite the disqualification and last month’s announcement of its shock “ceasefire”. The club was looking for an investor to keep him alive.

Chinese sports news service Titan Sports Plus reported that three of the six clubs disqualified this year were either owned or owned by companies that also have European football teams. Suning owns Inter Milan, Beijing owner Renhe Renhe owns England team Reading, and Shenzhen owner Bogang Palm Sports owns England team West Bromwich Albion.

Xinhua also announced yesterday that as a further sign of the financial problems of Chinese club football, the bus of the bankrupt former second division team, Liaoning Hongyun, was to be auctioned to pay the unpaid wages of the players.

The CSL 2021 season kicks off on April 20. Like last season, restrictions on the coronavirus will see him fully hosted in two cities – Suzhou, in Jiangsu Province, and Guangzhou, in Guangzhou Province.

Image: Jiangsu Suning wins the 2020 Chinese Super League title. Credit: Xinhua.

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