Yes, you read that right. Allegedly 13 Super League clubs are in risk of being denied entry to next season because they haven’t paid their players according to several British media outlets.
They have until the 15th of August to settle the matter, if they don’t they will be denied entry to next year’s Super League season.
These are the 13 Super League teams in question:
Shanghai Shenhua, Shanghai SIPG, Beijing Guoan, Changchun Yatai, Chongqing Dangdai Lifan, Hebei China Fortune, Guangzhou Evergrande, Guangzhou R&F, Jiangsu Suning, Liaoning Whowin, Shandong Luneng Taishan, Tianjin Quanjian, Tianjin TEDA
That means that as it stands right now the CSL would consist of bottom of the league Yanbian Funde, 12th placed Henan Jianye and 10th placed Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng next year. Not the best of leagues that.
But there’s more
The clubs who fail to pay outstanding debts to a players former club will face expulsion from the 2018 AFC Champions League according to the Asian Football Confederation if they don’t pay up by the end of August, according to a statement sent out by the Asian Football Confederation last week, who asked the respective national bodies to investigate.
“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,” the AFC stated.
“The move is intended to promote financial discipline among football clubs in Asia.”
Clubs claim to have paid
But according to the South China Morning Post several clubs have already denied the allegations and say their teams are in the clear.
Shanghai SIPG who have Oscar and Hulk on their payrolls said: “After verification, we’ve already paid the arrears in full in October last year and we’ve sent the related certificates to Chinese FA (CFA). We hereby certify that our club doesn’t have any arrears problem.”
Shanghai Shenhua, the club of Carlos Tevez, 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 according to SCMP.
“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.
“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 Guoan and Shandong Luneng say they have paid all outstanding fees to their players’ former clubs and have no issues with salaries.
What would happen to the 13 clubs if they fail to pay is uncertain, would they have to start over again in League Two or lower or would they just cease to exist? The latter may not be the most likely of options but we’ll have to wait and see.