Chinese Super League champions Jiangsu FC, known as Jiangsu Suning until this year, have "ceased operations," the BBC report.
The club was owned by struggling retail giant Suning, who said they were closing down the club to focus on their core retail business.
Jiangsu won the first CSL title in club history last November, with a 2–1 aggregate victory over Guangzhou Evergrande in the finals. Goals came from Italian international Éder and Brazilian superstar Alex Teixeira.
Teixeira joined Jiangsu back in 2016 for a then China record transfer fee of €50 million. The big spending club had also broken the China transfer record just 10 days previously, when they had signed another Brazilian, Ramires, from Chelsea.
Former England boss, Italian Fabio Capello, was Jiangsu manager between 2017 and 2018, while Gareth Bale was close to signing for them from Real Madrid in 2019.
Brazilian superstar Alex Teixeira celebrates his title winning goal against Guangzhou Evergrande. Image via CGTN.
"Even though we are reluctant to part with the players who have won us the highest honors, and fans who have shared solidarity with the club, we have to regretfully make an announcement," Jiangsu FC said in a statement. "From today, Jiangsu Football Club ceases the operation of its teams."
Speaking earlier in February, Suning chairman Zhang Jindong said: "We will focus on retail business resolutely and without hesitation will close and cut down our business irrelevant to retail."
The move coincides with the news that Suning Group's appliance and retailing business unit, Suning.com, has received RMB14.8 billion in investment from state-backed investors for a 23% stake to relieve short-term debt load, Shine reports.
Suning.com reported a 4% drop in operation income in the last year, and a full-year net loss of RMB3.9 billion, compared to a profit of RMB9.8 billion a year ago, as the pandemic hit its retailing business hard.
Suning has carried out a number of high-profile acquisitions in recent years, including Japanese retailer Laox, the Chinese unit of French retailer Carrefour and Italy's Inter Milan football club.
It is not believed that Suning's decision to close down Jiangsu FC will bear any relevance on Inter Milan, the BBC report, citing a Suning source. Inter are currently top of Italy's Serie A, but it is understood the club has been looking for external investment for a number of months.
[Cover image via CGTN]