BEIJING (AP) — Economic woes are taking a toll on China’s professional football clubs, with 11 being disqualified for failing to pay wages and five closing shop on their own terms, 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. The suspended clubs include four 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 May 12 amid heavy debts, only three seasons after former World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro guided it into the Asian Champions League. That came after owner and founder of the Quanjian group, Shu Yuhui, was arrested on corruption charges. The official 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 Saturday, the CFA said it hoped clubs could “pay attention to long-term planning and rational management” and protect the interests of players, coaches and staff. The Chinese Super League will… Read full this story
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