China’s Shandong Luneng were barred Monday from taking part in the forthcoming Asian Champions League after breaching rules related to finances, football officials said.
Asia’s premier club tournament kicks off in mid-April, with group stage matches taking place in one West Asian and one East Asian hub.
Luneng were initially supposed to participate but the Asian Football Confederation said they had been declared ineligible due to breaking a rule that clubs must not owe money to current or former employees, or the authorities.
The governing body did not disclose further details, but said the Chinese Super League team’s spot in the tournament would be given to another side.
Luneng — who boast former Premier League star Marouane Fellaini in its ranks — had been due to face Thailand’s Port FC and Kitchee of Hong Kong in the group stages.