Owners of reigning Chinese Super League champions Jiangsu FC announced that the club will cease operations with immediate effect on Sunday.
The announcement claimed that all of the owners from the Suning Group's football clubs, including the very successful Jiangsu Suning Women, would cease operations from the day of its announcement (Sunday, February 28).
From the club's official WeChat account, it was hoped that new backers or a company could consult on the team's future.
One of China's biggest retailers and owner of Lega Serie A giants Inter Milan, expressed that its intentions were to focus on it core businesses, leading to fears over the future of its non-retail assets.
Last November, Jiangsu FC won its first Chinese Super League title after a play-off win against eight-time winners Guangzhou Evergrande, that featured talents such as Alex Teixeira, who opted for a €50 million switch to the Chinese club amid interest from Liverpool FC.
The Brazilian winger refused to sign a new contract at the end of last season and head coach Cosmin Olaroiu looked unlikely to return to the club, resulting in questions over the finances of the Chinese outfit and the possible effect it could have on football in the country.
Jiangsu FC are currently looking for new owners, however, if they are unable to, their absence could cause further problems for the Asian Champions League ahead of its start date in April.
Suning.com, part of the Suning Group, has said that shareholders plan to sell 20 to 25 per cent of the company to unnamed buyers, which could lead to a change in control as the group looks to free up cash.
Additionally, the news may come of concern to its player and staff who could face losing out on playing for a professional football team and may have to assess their futures before the return of the Chinese Super League season.
Author: Jake Wilkin