With just over a week to go until the start of the season, Chongqing Liangjiang dropped out of the Chinese Super League due to a failure to pay players and staff. This is another hard blow to the domestic league.
Just as happened before the 2021 campaign when champions Jiangsu FC dropped out, on Tuesday Chongqing announced that it was financially unable to continue and will not be part of the season that is scheduled to start on June 3.
“After careful deliberation by the club’s shareholders, we have made the unfortunate decision to withdraw from the league and dissolve the team,” the club said in a statement. “Thank you to all the players and staff for your hard work.”
This month a Chinese court was told that the Chongqing players had gone 16 months without receiving their full salary.
“Since 2019, we have been suffering from the misery of unpaid wages,” one player posted in an open letter. “Our consistent, discreet and complete commitment has been rewarded with empty words.”
In contrast to the splurge on foreign famous players in the previous decade — the peak came in the 2016-17 season when the Chinese Super League was the biggest spender in the transfer market — Chinese football now faces several financial problems.
An economic recession has impacted several companies that provide funds to Chinese clubs and the effects of the pandemic, which has led to stadiums being practically empty in the last two seasons, has worsened the situation.
China’s zero COVID policy has led to strict lockdowns that have affected the league that usually starts in March.