Unemployed Wuhan footballer sleepless over uncertain future

Former Liaoning FC club player Xiong Fei, who was made redundant after the Shenyang-based outfit dissolved, has said he had lost sleep over his uncertain future when being stuck in the locked-down Wuhan.

The 32-year-old defender is currently training with his native club Wuhan FC to keep fit after the Liaoning club was stripped of the eligibility to play in the Chinese professional football leagues by the Chinese Football Association (CFA) for financial failures in May, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Liaoning club lived on borrowed time since February when several of its players made public that the club had forged eight players’ signatures on a document submitted to the CFA to confirm full payment of employee wages and bonuses for 2019.

“Life was miserable for me then, as on the one hand I was stranded in Wuhan, the then epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, and on the other hand, I faced the possibility of losing my job. I was left in deep distress,” Xiong said.

“Since that time I began to contact other clubs, but even if they wanted to sign me, I couldn’t go to join them as Wuhan was locked down. I lost sleep at nights agonising over the uncertain future,” the player said.

“I even considered retirement, but what can I do after that? I am capable of nothing but playing football,” he said.

Xiong said many Chinese football players are facing the same dilemma as his after 16 clubs including the Liaoning side were denied entry to the Chinese football leagues by the CFA in May.

“It is very difficult to find a new job now. Many obscure players have retired unnoticedly. They came in silence and left in silence as well,” he said.