THE Newcastle Jets are now Martin Lee’s only professional football interest after the billionaire businessman withdraw Shenzhen Ledman from the Chinese third tier.
Shenzhen Ledman has made the play-offs in China League Two for the past two seasons but will revert to amateur football.
When Lee bought the Jets, the plan was to move players between the two clubs once Shenzhen Ledman had been promoted to China League One, in which clubs are allowed imports.
“To run a football club in China is big money with no return,” Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna said. “They attract small crowds and have no sponsorship. To get up into the next level where it could help the Jets and Shenzhen Ledman could cost tens of millions of dollars. Last year the Chinese Super League was the biggest spending league in the world. China League One was about the fourth or fifth biggest spend. You are either in it or not. ”
Shenzhen Ledman players had lived together in a hotel near the training facility.
Ledman Group, which is owned by Lee, has also ceased sponsorship of the Portuguese second division.
McKinna said Lee’s move to scale back his interests would not impact the Jets.
“Our budget hasn’t changed,” he said.