Chinese Super League side Tianjin Tianhai on sale for free amid financial struggles
Chinese Super League club Tianjin Tianhai have announced they are available free of charge to a suitable owner after financial struggles left them facing an uncertain future.
Tianjin narrowly avoided relegation in 2019 and the club's financial woes had led to reports that they may not be able to participate in the 2020 campaign -- the start has been delayed due to the coronavirus.
During the off season, Tianjin had seen 13 players depart while failing to make a single signing.
After discussions, Tianjin announced on Thursday that the club is ready to handover ownership without a fee.
"The club have reached a critical moment and in order to maintain the hard-fought position in the Chinese Super League, have, after careful considerations, made a difficult decision," read a statement on the club's official social media channels.
"We will transfer 100% of the club with zero fee."
The statement invited Chinese companies to get on board with the club's assets worth an estimated $100 million. Debts are reported to be around $145m but Tianjin have said that figure is negotiable.
The club is owned by the Tianjin Football Association which stepped in to take over in Jan. 2019 after former owner, pharmaceutical company Quanjian, was embroiled in a national scandal.
On Wednesday, coach Li Weifeng denied reports that the team was going to be kicked out of the 2020 season.
"Such rumours are very irresponsible and disrespectful to the players who tried so hard last season," he said. "The club is facing some problems, but they can be solved.
"And some are questioning why we did not sign new players. There's no rule that a team must sign somebody during a transfer window.
"Every team has its own troubles, that's normal. That doesn't mean the club has no future."