The Chinese Football Association has disqualified 11 teams from professional competition this year as part of its ongoing crackdown on financial mismanagement.
Another five clubs, including former Chinese Super League outfit Tianjin Tianhai, have withdrawn from professional football this year of their own accord due to financial problems.
The 11 disqualified clubs include four who competed in the second tier China League One last year and seven from the third division, China League Two.
The Xinhua news agency reported that the clubs were disqualified due to wage arrears. The CFA has been requiring clubs to submit documentary proof that they have paid players and staff on time.
The CFA has since last year introduced a range of measures aimed at improving the finances of Chinese clubs, including forming a club finance task force and introducing salary caps. Earlier this year, CFA president Chen Xuyuan said: “Our clubs can barely achieve sustainable development. The owners have invested a lot but earn little back, and this could be detrimental to Chinese football.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the financial problems. The CFA proposed clubs reduce wages of players and coaches by at least 30 per cent, in an official but non-binding proposal published earlier this month.
This season’s Chinese Super League was scheduled to start on February 22 but was delayed due to the pandemic. The CFA is now eyeing late June or early July to start the season.