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March 2, 2021

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Chinese FA ‘regrets’ Jiangsu decision

The Chinese Football Association said yesterday it “regrets” the decision by Chinese Super League champion Jiangsu FC to cease operations but that it will continue to seek to develop the game in the world’s most populous nation.

The Suning Group, which bought Jiangsu in late 2015 and which also owns Italian league leader Inter Milan, announced on Sunday the Chinese champion would cease operations with immediate effect while expressing hope new backers could be found.

“The Chinese Football Association regrets the suspension of operations issued by Jiangsu FC but respects the club’s decision,” the national body said in a statement.

“Jiangsu football has had a glorious history and, since its takeover in 2015, the Suning Group has contributed tremendously to football development in general. The Chinese Football Association appreciates this effort.

“The CFA will work towards implementing the China Football Reform and Development Plan to continue its reforms, with an emphasis on strengthening youth development, improving the professional league and uniting all the forces around Chinese football to keep fighting for Chinese football.”

The announcement came with the new CSL season expected to start next month and four months after the Cosmin Olaroiu-coached club defeated eight-time champion Guangzhou Evergrande in a playoff to claim its first-ever league title.

Suning’s decision affects all of the company’s China-based clubs, including the Jiangsu Suning Women’s team, which won the Chinese Women’s Super League title in 2019.

Meanwhile, Croatian midfielder Ante Majstorovic has joined Shanghai Port, the CSL club announced yesterday.

Shanghai Port, formerly Shanghai SIPG, said the transfer of Majstorovic was the result of friendly negotiations with his former owner NK Osijek.

Born in 1993, Majstorovic played for Hajduk Split HNK and NK Lokomotiva Zagreb in Croatia. After joining NK Osijek in July 2019, Majstorovic made 55 appearances on the pitch, leading the team to shut out its opponents 27 times. As captain of the team, he scored a critical goal in the 2020-21 UEFA Europa League qualifier against FC Basel.

Majstorovic arrived in Shanghai on Chinese New Year’s Eve. After a 14-day quarantine in line with COVID-19 pandemic prevention regulations, he started taking part in the team’s training camp at Century Park in the Pudong New Area last Saturday.

“We welcome Majstorovic to the team. We hope he will soon adapt to the tactics of Shanghai Port and strengthen the back line in the coming season,” the announcement said.


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