Why Did A Champion Football Club Immediately Collapse?

football team kits - A player shooting on goal

It is rare for a football club to win a domestic championship but then not even be eligible to defend it, but it is even rarer for a football team to become the league champions and then disappear before they even finish sewing the stars on their new football team kits.

Whilst clubs such as Marseilles in 1992, Juventus in 2006 and Rangers FC in 2012 did not get a chance to defend their championships due to forced relegations due to bribery, match-fixing and financial irregularities respectively, the clubs all officially stuck around, even if in Rangers’ case it is still a point of contention.

One club, however, went from the dizzying heights of the peak of their division to nonexistence arguably quicker than any other club in world football and represented the end of an era for a league once seen as a challenger to the Premier League.

The club in question was Jiangsu Suning, who won the 2020 Chinese Super League final against the monolithic Guangzhou Evergrande, with their expensive world-class superstar Alex Teixeira being the difference maker in the match.

Alex Teixeira was the jewel in the crown not only of Jiangsu Suning but also the Chinese Super League as a whole, being a young, talented player who chose to make a €50m move to the Nanjing club over an offer from Liverpool FC, with the offer being the second transfer fee record by the club.

This was in 2016, thanks to a central government investment boost. However, in 2017 a luxury transfer tax was brought in and by 2020 a strict salary cap of €10m for foreign players led to an exodus of superstars.

By late 2020, Alex Teixeira was one of them, and by February 2021, Jiangsu’s parent company Suning (who also owned Inter Milan at the time) changed the name to Jiangsu FC to meet new sponsorship restrictions before ceasing operations entirely by the end of the month.

No club champion at this level has ever folded so quickly, and it has since made the Jiangsu FC kit that was made in preparation for the team to defend their championship crown something of a rarity.