Guangzhou get new owners despite demotion

BEIJING - Guangzhou's relegation from China's top flight for matchfixing has not deterred new owners from buying the club for 100 million yuan ($14.65 million), local media reported on Wednesday.

Guangzhou and Chengdu, who are owned by English club Sheffield United, were demoted from the Chinese Super League (CSL) last week for their part in China's matchfixing scandal.

The Evergrande Real Estate Group, which also owns China's richest women's volleyball team in the city, have nonetheless stepped in to purchase the club.

"It is the hardest time in the history of the Guangzhou soccer team and the club needs support from everywhere to recover," Evergrande president Xu Jiayin told the China Daily.

"We believe the citizens are still fond of the sport and we have great confidence in the sport's future in China, that's why we were determined to take over the club."

The Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group has also agreed to pay 25 million yuan to be title sponsors of the club, the paper said.

Guangzhou, China's third most populous metropolitan area with a population of around 12 million, is the centre of the manufacturing heartland of China's booming economy.