Chinese Super League clubs move swiftly to allay fears of financial crisis after expulsion threat
Governing bodies are demanding unpaid salaries and debts be settled by August 31 as teams attempt to prove they are solvent
A reported crisis concerning unpaid salaries and bonuses that was set to threaten next season’s Chinese Super League appears to have been overexaggerated with leading sides Shanghai Shenhua and Shanghai SIPG among those playing down the story in British media.
News emerged on Tuesday that 13 of the 16 Super League sides “could be forced to forfeit their participation in the competition next season after failing to pay their players properly” and had until August 15 to resolve the problem with the Chinese Football Association (CFA) or be “denied entry to the league”, according to the Mirror.
But despite the reports suggesting only minnows Yanbian Funde, Henan Jianye and Guizhou Zhicheng were in the clear, Beijing Guoan and Shandong Luneng joined Shenhua and SIPG in allaying fears over the 2018 Super League season.
“After verification, we’ve already paid the arrears in full in October last year and we’ve sent the related certificates to CFA. We hereby certify that our club doesn’t have any arrears problem,” said SIPG, who have the likes of Brazilian duo Oscar and Hulk in their ranks.
Shenhua, who signed Argentine Carlos Tevez in a high-profile move at the start of the 2017 season, admitted they may have some issues with outstanding payments to the previous clubs of their players but insisted any issues were not related to salaries and bonuses.
“We received the notice from CFA this morning. Our only problem lies in fees of joint compensation mechanism. It has nothing to do with the unpaid salaries and bonuses,” said Shenhua press officer Mr Yue.
“We have to verify with our financial department first to make sure we’ve already paid off the compensation fees. If we did, we will send the related certificates to CFA, and if we didn’t, we will solve the problem as soon as possible.
13 of 16 Chinese Super League clubs could be forced to forfeit next season due to unpaid salaries https://t.co/YYRXdC0QOT
— Hamish Mackay (@HamishMackay) July 25, 2017
“At this moment, we can’t guarantee that we’ve already paid off the compensation fees because a player, especially a foreign player, might have played for many clubs including some minor clubs before joining Shenhua. We might have forgotten or neglected one or two of them inadvertently.”
Both Beijing and Shandong claimed they had paid all their related fees in full, with suggestions Shandong paid the relevant Brazilian clubs the required fees, but did not receive confirmation back in the form of a receipt.
Brazilian duo Gil and Diego Tardelli, as well as Italian Graziano Pelle and Senegal’s Papiss Cisse, are members of Shandong’s squad this season.
Beijing, meanwhile, confirmed in a statement they were accused by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) of not paying a fee to Brazilian side Flamengo for midfielder Renato Augusto, who moved to China in 2016.
The capital side insist they made the required payment in full in October 2016 following the reported HK$72 million move in January and Beijing will send the proof to the CFA.
Concerns over spending and subsequent debt in the Super League continued this season following the high-profile arrivals of Oscar and Tevez at the start of 2017, with the mid-season transfer window seeing only a handful of moves after a new tax implemented effectively doubled the price of a foreign signing valued at more than 45 million yuan (HK$52 million).
— The-AFC.com (@theafcdotcom) July 12, 2017
The news follows last week’s statement from the AFC, who confirmed they had written to clubs across the continent “reminding them that clubs with any outstanding payments by August 31, 2017, will face exclusion from the AFC Champions League in 2018”.
The AFC asked the associations in each country to investigate and provide updates by August 15.
“Clubs have until the last day of August to demonstrate that the overdue amounts have been fully settled, deferred by mutual agreement or are the subject of a serious complaint which has been submitted to a competent authority,” said Asia’s governing body.
“The move is intended to promote financial discipline among football clubs in Asia.”