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Chinese Super League Champions Fold

T
he Chinese Super League (CSL) champions, Jiangsu FC, who are owned by Suning, the company that owns Italian top-flight club, Inter Milan, have announced they have ceased operations.

Reports suggest the club has not officially dissolved and could find new investors after Suning chairman, Zhang Jindong, said the company will cut all business not relating to retail.

“We will focus on retail business resolutely and without hesitation will close and cut down our business irrelevant to retail,” Jindong said.

In a statement, the club, which was crowned champions of the CSL just three months ago, said: “Even though we are reluctant to part with the players who have won us the highest honours, and fans who have shared solidarity with the club, we have to regretfully make an announcement.”

“From today, Jiangsu Football Club ceases the operation of its teams,” the club said.

The club reportedly amassed debts around $117 million and recently underwent an unsuccessful sale process by Suning, after becoming one of the biggest-spending clubs in the world over the past decade.

Jiangsu spent $78 million on Alex Teixeira and $44 million on Ramires in recent years in their pursuit of winning the CSL, marking some of the most lucrative deals in the league, along with star players Hulk, Oscar, and Paulinho.

The league imposed a salary cap for the 2021 season limiting club expenditures to $117 million per year, amid fears Jiangsu’s ceasing of operations could soon be followed by Tianjin Tigers, after club owner, Teda, cut investment after the Chinese Football Association ruled all team names must be free from corporate title.

Jiangsu FC was previously known as Jiangsu Suning before the ruling was enforced.

Jiangsu was qualified for the upcoming AFC Champions League in April but will now reportedly close off ties to all players and staff across its CSL club, women’s team, and youth team.

Following the closure of Jiangsu FC, Inter Milan released a statement on their website confirming the club’s economic future: “As part of ongoing capital structure and liquidity management, the business and our ownership are in talks to provide a range of solutions in this respect.”

“While Suning have confirmed their commitment to financially support the club with or without additional external support, it is also sensible and prudent to look outside.

“With that in mind, Suning appointed key advisers in Asia to work with them to find suitable partners, be that with an injection of equity capital or otherwise.

“Talks with key potential partners in this respect remain ongoing,” Inter Milan said.