Thirteen clubs in the mega-rich Chinese Super League face expulsion from the competition after the Chinese Football Association issued warnings over an alleged breach of financial regulations.
China’s top flight clubs affected in this dispute are Carlos Tevez’s Shanghai Shenhua, big spenders Shanghai SIPG, Beijing Guoan, Changchun Yatai, Chongqing Dangdai Lifan, Hebei China Fortune, Luiz Felipe Scolari’s title-holders Guangzhou Evergrande, Guangzhou R&F, Jiangsu Suning, Liaoning Whowin, Shandong Luneng Taishan, Tianjin Quanjian and Tianjin TEDA.
League one clubs Beijing Renhe, Dalian Transcendence, Shanghai Shenxin, Shijiazhuang Ever Bright and league two club Qingdao Jonoon have also been targeted.
This leaves just Yanbian Fude, Henan Jianye and Guizhou Hengfeng having paid all their players in full and therefore able to participate in the competition.
Meanwhile there have been conflicting reports by Beijing, SIPG, Shandong Luneng and Jiangsu Suning who all issued statements denying any irregularities and Shanghai Shenhua said they were investigating and would finalise outstanding payments as soon as possible.
The letter sent out by the Chinese Football Association (CFA) on Tuesday read: “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 follows one sent out on 11th July by the Asian Football Confederation which stated clubs with outstanding debts had until the 31st August to clear outstanding payments and send proof to the CFA or they would face denied entry into the continental club championship.