Chinese Super League clubs ordered to pay off their debts
The game in China appears to be awash with money but there are attempts to slow the boom
Ten of China's leading football clubs say they have cleared debts after 13 of them were threatened with a ban.
All but three of the clubs in China's booming Super League along with five clubs from lower divisions were ordered to pay outstanding debts on player transfers, salaries or bonuses after a "dispute with the Chinese Football Association over an alleged breach of financial regulations", says the Daily Telegraph.
The situation came to a head after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) warned the Chinese Football Association that the clubs had until 31 August to clear all outstanding payments. Failure to do so would mean exclusion from next year's Asian Champions League, explains Jeremy Wilson of the paper.
"A number of clubs moved quickly to deny they were in arrears, while a spokesman for the AFC told Reuters that the letter issued by the confederation was sent to all member associations and was not directly targeted at Chinese clubs," says the paper.
Among the clubs that insist they were up to date on payments are Shanghai Shenhua, which signed Carlos Tevez in January, and Shanghai SIPG, home of former Chelsea star Oscar.
"Jiangsu Suning, Shandong Luneng and Beijing Guoan issued similar statements," says the BBC. "Guangzhou Evergrande, two-time winners of the Asian Champions League, said two of the payments involved were settled in December and January."
The Chinese Super League has become an attractive option for overseas stars thanks to the huge wages on offer. Tevez, for example, is reported to be paid more than £600,000 a week, prompting fears that the clubs have overstretched themselves.
As the BBC reports: "Chinese football authorities have sought to crack down on spending, with new regulations put in place that mean loss-making clubs are hit with a 100 per cent tax on signing players from overseas, effectively doubling transfer fees.
"The CFA has also reduced the number of overseas players permitted in matchday squads."