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May 25, 2020

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Economic woes taking toll on Chinese clubs

Economic woes are taking a toll on China’s professional clubs, with 11 being disqualified for failing to pay wages and five closing shop on their own, including last season’s Chinese Super League side Tianjin Tianhai.

Low attendance and gaudy contracts for overseas signings were already weighing heavily on the industry, even before the coronavirus outbreak forced it into total shutdown. Of the suspended clubs four are from the second division and seven from the third division. The five others have been struggling with financial woes and decided to disband on their own. Tianjin Tianhai withdrew on May 12 amid heavy debts, only three seasons after former World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro guided it into the AFC Champions League. Xinhua News Agency quoted Chinese Football Association head Chen Xuyuan as saying “clubs can barely achieve sustainable development. The owners have invested a lot but earn little back.” In an announcement on Saturday, the CFA said that it hoped clubs could “pay attention to long-term planning and rational management” and protect the interests of players, coaches and staff. The CSL will continue to comprise 16 teams, with formerly relegated Shenzhen FC promoted to take Tiajin’s place. It still remains unclear when the postponed 2020 season will restart.


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