As Chinese football enthusiasts eagerly anticipated Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival in Shenzhen, another piece of sadder news has claimed the local headlines.
On the morning of January 22, Shenzhen Football Club officially announced its disbandment.
The official statement from the club reads as follows:
Screenshot of the statement. Screenshot by That's
According to the statement, as per the list of debt-clearing clubs released by the Chinese Football Association, Shenzhen FC failed to gain entry into the 2024 season, rendering it unable to continue competing in the Chinese professional football league.
Despite several players from Shenzhen earning spots in various national teams over the past few years, and creating wonderful memories for fans, the club faced insurmountable historical debts, forcing an end to its league journey.
Established in January 1994, Shenzhen FC achieved immediate success by winning the Chinese Yi League / China League Two championship – the third tier of Chinese football – during its inaugural year.
They followed that up by clinching the Chinese Jia B League / China League One title – the second tier of Chinese football – the following year to ascend to the top tier of Chinese football, what would become the Chinese Super League (CSL).
The club's illustrious achievements include:
In 2004, the team won the first-ever Chinese Super League championship and reached the quarterfinals of the 2005 AFC Champions League.
In 2018, Shenzhen secured the 2018 China League One runner-up position, seeing them promoted back into the Chinese Super League for the 2019 season.
Undoubtedly, the demise of Shenzhen FC from the China stage is disheartening for many football enthusiasts.
For more information on the current state of Chinese football, and to explore whether deep-seated corruption and a lack of a solid grassroots movement have contributed to the country's waning interest in the beautiful game, click the link below:
Stay tuned for the latest updates in the Greater Bay Area by following our WeChat official account, ThatsGBA.
[Cover image via Shenzhen Football Club]