The owners of Chinese Super League champions Jiangsu FC have announced that the club have ceased operations.
Jiangsu Suning, which also owns Serie A leaders Inter, is looking for other companies to invest in the Chinese club and they could miss out on qualification for the new season unless new money floods in.
On February 19, Suning chairman Zhang Jindong ordered the group’s non-retail businesses to shut down as much as possible. Days later it was reported that Jiangsu Suning were prepared to sell Jiangsu FC at an extremely low price.
What has been said?
"Due to the overlap of various uncontrollable elements, Jiangsu Football Club cannot effectively guarantee the continuation of the activity: from now on, Jiangsu Football Club will stop,” a statement released on Sunday read.
“Over the past six months, the club has gone to great lengths to ensure succession, without missing out on any opportunities. The activity of each team will be stopped. At the same time, we expect issues relating to future development to continue on a larger scale, perhaps with new companies willing to take over.”
Jiangsu FC's financial troubles
Jiangsu FC ran into problems in the middle of last season amid an unpaid salary scandal followed by rumours of a player strike. At the end of the year, Suning Group began looking for buyers but no deal has been made.
Star player Alex Teixeira has since rejected an offer to extend his contract, while coach Cosmin Olaroiu announced on February 11 that his contract had been terminated.
At the start of February, the club's name was changed from Jiangsu Suning FC to Jiangsu FC to comply with the Chinese FA's new requirements to erase the names of owners and shareholders from teams. The new policy has weakened the desire of companies to invest in football teams.
Suning purchased the club in December 2015 and quickly began to spend big in the transfer market, signing former Chelsea midfielder Ramires and Alex Teixeira from Shakhtar. They went on to finish second in the league and were Chinese FA Cup runners-up in 2016.
Fabio Capello was appointed coach in June 2017 but was sacked the following March before eventually announcing his retirement from the game.
In November last year Jiangsu beat Guangzhou Evergrande 2-1 in the final to secure their first ever Chinese Super League title.