Clubs deny debt claims after CSL expulsion threat by CFA

Chinese clubs hit back at Chinese Football Association claims they could be in breach of regulations that would exclude them from participating in next season's league campaign.

Argentina striker Carlos Tevez (left) of Shanghai Greenland Shenhua challenges Jin Pengxiang of Beijing Guo'an during their Chinese Super League match at Hongkou Stadium in Shanghai on July 23, 2017.

Chinese clubs hit back on Tuesday at accusations from the Chinese Football Association that they could be in breach of regulations that would exclude them from participating in next season's league campaign.

Thirteen clubs in the Chinese Super League, the country's top flight, as well as four from the second division and one from the third tier were named in a letter sent by the CFA claiming all 18 had debts outstanding on player transfers, salaries or bonuses that could see them denied entry into next year's competitions.

The move was sparked by a letter sent to the CFA by the Asian Football Confederation on July 11, stating clubs had until August 31 to clear all outstanding payments or face exclusion from next year's AFC Champions League.

The CFA claimed CSL champion Guangzhou Evergrande, two-time winner of the ACL, was among those with outstanding debts that required immediate action.

"Those (clubs) who fail to solve the debt problem or miss the deadline will be disqualified from any China professional football leagues from 2018, according to the CFA Professional League Club Entry Requirements and Review Guidelines," the letter said.

A number of clubs moved quickly to deny they were in arrears, while a spokesman for the AFC said the letter issued by the confederation was sent to all member associations and was not directly targeted at Chinese clubs.

"After an investigation, we found that we have fully paid all of the claimed in arrears last October," Shanghai SIPG said on the club's social media feed. "The club has submitted its evidence to the CFA."

Jiangsu Suning, Shandong Luneng and Beijing Guo'an were among those to issue similar statements while Shanghai Greenland Shenhua, home of highly paid Argentina striker Carlos Tevez, said it was investigating the issue and would finalize any outstanding payments as soon as possible.

Chinese football authorities have sought to crack down on spending in the league in recent years, with new regulations put in place ahead of the close season transfer window that would lead to clubs being heavily taxed for paying out sums similar to the huge amounts spent over the last two years.

Oscar's move from English Premier League side Chelsea to SIPG in January set an Asian record of 60 million euros (US$70 million), as salaries and transfer fees have escalated as the country seeks to become one of the world's leading football nations.

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