CSL's Tianjin Tianhai fold amid bankruptcy

Omnisport

Chinese Super League club Tianjin Tianhai have declared bankruptcy and ceased operations.

Tianjin, who were previously coached by Italy's 2006 World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro and count Alexandre Pato and Axel Witsel among their former players, have struggled financially since their owner Shu Yuhui was arrested for organising and leading a pyramid scheme last year.

Shu was sentenced to nine years in prison in January.

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Shenzhen FC will take Tianjin's place in the 2020 CSL, which has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tianjin finished third-bottom, one place above Shenzhen, who were relegated.

A club statement read: "Given an unsustainable financial situation, the club is no longer able to maintain normal operations.

"After a period of thoughtful consideration… the club has no choice but to formally announce that Tianjin Tianhai is disbanding."

Tianjin were one of the most ambitious Chinese clubs when spending was briefly ramped up during the middle of the previous decade.

After being led out of the second tier by Cannavaro and the goals of Luis Fabiano in 2016, they signed Witsel and Pato for the next season and finished third in the CSL to qualify for the AFC Champions League.

However, Cannavaro then resigned to take charge of Guangzhou Evergrande and a ninth-place finish in their sole campaign under Sousa preceded last term's struggles.

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