Only three months after the first Chinese league title in its history, Jiangsu FC announced on Sunday that it was ending its activities. Inter Milan are owned by the same company as Chinese club Suning, which has been struggling financially lately.
Success is no guarantee of the sustainability of a project. Jiangsu FC announced on Sunday that it was going to cease its activities and go out of business. “Despite our reluctance to separate ourselves from the players who have won the highest honors, and from the supporters who have shown their solidarity with the club, it is with regret that we must make an announcement: from today, the Jiangsu Football Club puts an end to the activity of its teams ”writes the club. This is surprising news at first glance since Jiangsu FC was crowned Chinese champion for the first time in its history only three months ago.
The owner of the Nanjing-based club Suning, a Chinese retail giant, in the grip of big financial difficulties had already announced the color a few weeks ago. Zhang Jindong, the owner of the group, had told his employees during the last Lunar New Year that Suning would move away from their non-business activities. This trend was confirmed in the press release: “For six months, the club has been looking for a buyer, trying with the greatest sincerity to transfer its capital”.
The situation related to the Covid-19 pandemic has completely cooled investors, especially as the new policy imposed by the government on Chinese football has hardened. Goodbye large transfers and staggering salaries, the Chinese federation now imposes a salary cap and is moving towards a more sustainable economic model. These big hits on the transfer window based on huge sums of money, Jiangsu FC (formerly called Jiangsu Suning, but like in Germany, China banned clubs from having a company name in its name) was fond. Aleix Texeira had landed in China in 2016 for 50 million euros while Liverpool made soft eyes at the Brazilian. His compatriot Ramires, former Chelsea, had also come to Nanjing for 28 million euros. Jiangsu also managed to “convince” Fabio Capello, and was very close to enlisting Gareth Bale in 2019.
Inter Milan threatened
With this cessation of activity a place in the Asian Champions League is free. This is the second Chinese team to leave its chair for the next C1 since Shandong Luneng, winner of the Chinese Cup, was disqualified by the Asian Confederation, the fault of its finances also very badly. Proof that the financial idyll of Chinese clubs is far behind them.
Another concern following this announcement: Suning, who wants to sell 20 to 25% of the company to anonymous buyers, is the majority shareholder of Inter Milan. The Chinese company owns 68.55% of the current leader of Serie A (Lion Rock Capital, a Hong Kong fund, owns 31%). It is no secret that the Lombard club has also been looking for potential new investors for a few months. “It is reasonable and prudent to look elsewhere,” Suning said, but Inter have confirmed that Zhang Jindong’s company remains the club’s owner.
The shutdown of Jiangsu’s activities could have a snowball effect that would even reach the Old Continent, after severely damaging Chinese football. Tianjin Teda, another side of the Chinese Super League, is under serious threat and the cessation of its activities would not be a surprise.