Chinese top tier clubs warned to settle unpaid wages by year end or face expulsion

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April 5 – The Chinese Football Association (CFA) has warned that clubs who fail to settle all unpaid salaries by December 31 will be relegated or expelled.

In 2020 the CFA kicked out Asian giants Liaoning Hongyun, who dominated the top tier in China the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, after the club failed to provide evidence to authorities that they had cleared their debts and had paid employees’ salaries.

Lower league clubs Guangdong South China Tigers, Sichuan Longfor and Shanghai Shenxin were also disbanded.

Under a new plan, clubs must settle at least 30% of their total arrears by July 31, not less than 70% by October 31 and all unpaid wages by December 31. Clubs will be booted out if they fail to meet the December 31 deadline.

Those that repay less than 30% by July 31 will be banned from registering new players in the second transfer window of the 2022 season and deducted three points. And those that repay less than 70% of total arrears by October 31 will be deducted six points.

The plan was announced after the CFA and China’s professional football union convened clubs from the top three divisions to hold an online meeting on Sunday.

The rules coincide with the start of the new top-flight Chinese Super League due to get under way later this month and are another indication of the league’s boom and bust mentality.

In the first few years of Chinese Super League (CSL) clubs spent outlandish sums to lure superstar players from overseas, offering deals that even Europe’s top sides couldn’t match.

But Chinese football is now facing a huge financial crisis with debts spiralling out of control, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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