Chinese Super League champions Jiangsu FC – who have the same owners as Inter Milan – have “ceased operations”, the club said on Sunday.
Owners Suning said they were closing down the club to focus on their core retail business in the country.
Jiangsu won their first league title in November 2020.
Former England boss Fabio Capello was their manager between 2017 and 2018 and Gareth Bale was close to signing for them from Real Madrid in 2019.
BBC Sport has been told by a Suning source there will be no impact on Inter, who are top of Serie A, but it is understood the club has been looking for external investment for a number of months.
“Even though we are reluctant to part with the players who have won us the highest honours, and fans who have shared solidarity with the club, we have to regretfully make an announcement,” Jiangsu FC said in a statement.
“From today, Jiangsu Football Club ceases the operation of its teams.
“In the past six months the club has been looking around to seek a takeover.”
Suning chairman Zhang Jindong, speaking earlier in February, said: “We will focus on retail business resolutely and without hesitation will close and cut down our business irrelevant to retail.”
Impact on Inter?
Analysis by BBC Sport’s Simon Stone
The Chinese government is apparently scaling down commitment to Chinese football and is reducing sponsorship and TV rights as the costs have been huge and interest remains flaky.
The European situation is evidently different. However, Inter’s owners have been looking for external investment, so far without success, as their wage bill is huge.
Suning were also at the centre of the cancelled £564m contract to screen the Premier League in China to 2022, which has had a significant financial impact on England’s top-flight clubs.
The uncertainty around Suning will create a general nervousness in Europe, where there are other examples of Chinese investment in European football slowing, West Bromwich Albion an example of that. Even Wolves’ owners Fosun, whilst still spending, have pulled back on some massive capital costs around the development of Molineux, which they had wished to expand to a 40,000 capacity.
Inter are a bigger club of course, and as they stand on the brink of their first title since 2010, their fans will hope the assurances around their future prove accurate.