Chinese Super League side Tianjin Tianhai have declared bankruptcy and folded, the club announced on Tuesday.
The team which once employed World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro as a coach and signed players such as Alexandre Pato and Axel Witsel said they were unsustainable financially and couldn’t run normal operations.
In a statement, the club said: “Given an unsustainable financial situation, the club is no longer able to maintain the normal operation. After a period of thoughtful consideration … the club has no choice but to formally announce that Tianjin Tianhai is disbanding.”
Tianjin, founded in Inner Mongolia as Hohhot Binhai in 2006, has struggled to pay the bills since the arrest and subsequent imprisonment of their former owner Shu Yuhui, finishing second bottom of the CSL last year.
Then called Tianjin Quanjian after billionaire Shu’s traditional Chinese medicine firm they won promotion to the CSL in 2016 under Italian Cannavaro.
The club finished third in the CSL in 2017 following the acquisition of Belgium international Axel Witsel and Pato; an outing that saw them qualify for the Asian Champions League for the first time.
Shenzhen FC, who were relegated after finishing bottom, has been reprieved and will replace Tianhai in the CSL for the 2020 season, which has been delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Now is official: Tianjin Tianhai FC doesn't exist anymore. The club will Be replaced by Shenzhen in the Chinese Super League 2020 pic.twitter.com/ABecVnVbo1— All Asian Football (@AllAfcFootball) May 12, 2020