CSL champion Jiangsu denied license for new campaign

Reuters
Jiangsu FC will not defend its Chinese Super League title this season after it was left off the list of clubs approved to play in the new campaign by the CFA.
Reuters
CSL champion Jiangsu denied license for new campaign
SHINE

Players of Jiangsu Suning pose with the 2020 Chinese Super League trophy in this November 2020 file photo.


Jiangsu FC will not defend its Chinese Super League title this season after it was left off the list of clubs approved to play in the new campaign by the Chinese Football Association.

Jiangsu won its first-ever league title last year with victory over Guangzhou Evergrande in a playoff in November, but owner Suning announced it was withdrawing funding from the club at the end of February.

While Suning had said Jiangsu would cease operations in its announcement on February 28, there was still hope a new owner could be found willing to take on the club's debt.

But with the new season of the CSL due to kick off next month, time has run out for Jiangsu with the Chinese football authorities not granting the club a license to play in the 2021 campaign.

Earlier this month, Jiangsu withdrew from the Asian Football Confederation Champions League.

Jiangsu is among six professional clubs not approved to play in the upcoming season with Beijing Renhe, which played in the top flight in 2019 and was in the second division last season, also excluded.

Second-tier sides Taizhou Yuanda and Inner Mongolia Zhongyou were also denied licenses, as were third division clubs Jiangsu Yancheng and Shenzhen Bogang.

That means Cangzhou Mighty Lions, who were previously known as Shijiazhuang Everbright and were relegated last season to the second division, have been given a reprieve and will play in the top flight this year.

So, too, will Tianjin Tigers after the club formerly known as Tianjin Teda was included on the list of those granted licenses.

Tianjin had also been struggling financially, with media speculating the club was also likely to fold.

But Chinese media reports have claimed local government authorities in Tianjin have stepped in to save the club from becoming extinct.

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