Dalian Shide Faces Uncertain Future

By Community | January 17, 2013

China’s most successful football club, Dalian Shide FC is in limbo after sporting authorities blocked a merger with their city rivals, Dalian Aerbin FC.

Dalian Shide, winner of eight Chinese league titles, is struggling for cash despite and been due to merge with wealthy neighbouring Dalian Aerbin.

But the Chinese Football Association (CFA) reportedly “negated” the deal, and Shide  had to reapply on Tuesday for its place in the Chinese Super League (CSL).

“Shide may meet the requirements but it’s most likely that the club cannot hold it to the end of next season due to insufficient money,” said state news agency Xinhua.

Shide won the Jia A League, China’s first professional league, in its inaugural season in 1994, and gained six more Jia A titles before winning the rebranded CSL in 2005.

Shide is one of only two Chinese clubs to reach the final of Asia’s top club championship, currently known as the AFC Champions League.

Clubs in China are often controlled by wealthy businessmen and Shide were bankrolled by Xu Ming, one of China’s richest men and the owner of Shide Group.

Xu was a close associate of disgraced former politician Bo Xilai.

Xu was linked to the scandal that brought down Bo, and was reportedly detained last March, on the same day Bo was sacked as party chief of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing. He is believed to still be in detention.

Dalian Aerbin was founded in 2009 and backed by one of China’s largest construction companies, the Aerbin Group. The wealth of the owners recently allowed the club to sign former Paris Saint-Germain player Hoarau on a three-year deal, reportedly doubling his salary.{jcomments on}