Featuring European finalists...

7 forgotten football clubs who are now defunct: Dnipro, Chievo Verona…

Football is a brutal business and several big-name clubs have felt the financial brunt over the years, resulting in them vanishing from the game.

Be it down to dodgy ownership destroying a club, poor results landing a side in hot water they ultimately drown in or simply more instances of corruption than we’ve had hot dinners, in what is an expensive and often pocket-draining business, clubs can disappear overnight.

We’ve looked through the archives and picked out seven clubs from around the world who unfortunately are now defunct, even if some have been revived by phoenix clubs in the years since.

And before you all come at us, we’ve not included AFC Wimbledon or Rangers due to how established they are once again.

FC Dnipro

Founded in 1918, Dnipro were two-time Soviet Top League winners, two-time Ukrainian Premier League runners up and more notably the Europa League runners-up in 2014-15, going all the way to the final before losing 3-2 in a thrilling contest with – you guessed it – Sevilla.

It was a monumental achievement for the club, who had been playing their home games in Kyiv, around 400km away from their actual home.

However, a violation of Financial Fair Play undid their success and saw them suspended from UEFA competition for the next three seasons and that was compiled with owner – and Ukrainian oligarch – Ihor Kolomoyskyi pulling all funding from the club in 2018.

Now spiralling down the divisions and up to their eyeballs in debt, Dnipro were in freefall just a few years after being a European finalist.

They played a season of amateur football in 2018-19, which is what proved to be their last as FC Dnipro, having succumbed to the pressure.

SC-Dnipro 1 currently exists as an unofficial successor, but had a request to be officially recognised as that dismissed by FIFA in 2021.

This one is a tricky test.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every UEFA Cup and Europa League finalist since 1990?

Anzhi Makhachkala

Remembered not only for their ridiculous mouthful of a name, but for briefly being the richest club in the world, Anzhi received a cash injection in early 2011 when they were purchased by local Dagestani billionaire Suleyman Kerimov.

That was very quickly followed by a flurry of extremely lavish signings in the next year, tempting Samuel Eto’o, Roberto Carlos, Lassana Diarra, Chris Samba and others to the club with the promise of astronomical wages.

It was reported at the time that Eto’o’s move saw him pick up a wage that earned him £8.7million a season.

However, the allure of the ridiculous wages soon wore off when players realised the realities of the transfer. They lived away from Dagestan, making a 1,200-mile trek there on matchdays only, training in Moscow in a bid to be kept away from the republic.

Inevitably, it all came crashing down about as quickly as it started when their mystery billionaire owner began to withdraw his funding from the club two years later.

Suddenly, a firesale of their most expensive assets commenced and Anzhi began to freefall down the Russian pyramid.

An accumulation of debts ultimately resulted in them losing their professional licence in 2022, and the club has been inactive ever since.

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Chievo Verona

Serie A was once big enough for both Hellas and Chievo Verona, but the former are the last one standing in Italy’s top-flight after the latter dissolved in 2021 due to financial issues.

‘The Flying Donkeys’ were never the biggest team in the city, founded in 1929, but enjoyed 17 seasons in Serie A before they folded, having first won promotion to the top-flight in 2000.

Plucky underdogs, they punched in a fifth-placed finish in their first season in Serie A and qualified for the UEFA Cup, playing in the tournament again in 2006-07 after being knocked out of the Champions League qualifying round.

Relegation from Serie A in 2019 coincided with a false accounting scandal and other financial mishaps involving outstanding tax payments, resulting in them being expelled from Serie B in 2021 despite several appeals citing agreements in place throughout the pandemic.

Despite the efforts of former captain Sergio Pellissier, the club could not be salvaged in its original form and a phoenix club – FC Clivense – now exists, playing in Serie D.

Jiangsu Suning

The club responsible for tempting Alex Texeira away from a move to Liverpool in January 2016 and contributing heavily to the Chinese Super League’s position as an increasing power in world football, Jiangsu Suning’s investment paid off as they reached the AFC Champions League for the first time in 2017.

Texeira would score as the club secured the Chinese Super League title for the very first time in its history in 2021 with a 2-1 win over Guangzhou Evergrande, a full-circle moment for their seismic investment. It turned out to be bittersweet, though, as just months after, they vanished.

Just weeks before the beginning of the 2021 season – where they would be defending champions – parent company Suning Holdings Group ceased all club operations and shut everything down, just like that. Plucked from thin air.

Chivas USA

An interesting one, this.

A subsidiary of Mexican giants Guadalajara – also known as Chivas – the Chivas USA franchise became Major League Soccer’s 11th team when they entered the league in 2005, with Chivas owner Jorge Vegara keen to establish the club as an international brand.

They were based in California and competed in MLS for nine seasons as essentially a copycat of their brother in Liga MX, winning the Western Conference regular season in 2007, but losing in the MLS Cup semi-final to the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting Kansas City).

Operations began to unravel in the early 2010s with Vegara’s patience growing thin and constant underperformance resulting in a managerial merry-go-round, the bizarre satellite club now a shadow of who they were under Bob Bradley.

MLS finally bought Chivas USA from Vegara in 2014 and didn’t directly replace the franchise, but introduced two new ones for the 2015 season in New York City FC and Orlando SC.

The West Coast eventually got a team back in 2018 in the form of Los Angeles FC, who many consider the successor to Chivas USA. Weird. 

Los Angeles, United States. 09th Mar, 2024. Los Angeles FC goalkeeper Hugo Lloris #1 in action during an MLS soccer match at BMO Stadium.

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Dukla Prague

Eleven-time Czechoslovak title winners and 1967 European Cup finalists, Dukla Prague were founded in 1978 and enjoyed plenty of success in their early years, particularly domestically.

A team run by the Czechoslovak army, Dukla also competed across other sports and were regulars in both European and international competition, featuring in the American Challenge Cup and winning it three times, notably beating West Ham in the competition in 1963.

Their association with the military officially ended in 1994 and their demise through the 1990s was stark, falling away considerably after the Czech Republic was established.

A short-lived lifespan for a football club, they dissolved in 1996 after dropping down the divisions and unsuccessfully merging with a second-tier side.

FK Dukla Prague now lives on as a continuation of the club, playing in the second tier after being relegated from the Czech First League in 2019.


Founded in April 1943, Mexican outfit Veracruz won their first championship just three years into their existence and quickly followed it up with the Copa Mexico.

Playing in an almost 29,000-seater stadium in the Gulf of Mexico, the club’s modern history hadn’t been anywhere near as storied as their glory days in the 20th Century, but they were still an established Liga MX side, particularly in the 2000s.

Despite a fall-off in the 2010s and a bizarre club swap in 2013, Veracruz won the Copa Mexico as recently as 2014-15, but disbanded completely after the 2019-20 season, with players going unpaid for months in 2019 and protesting as a result.

The club operations were shut down entirely until 2021, when the club’s previous reserve team reformed in a bid to revive Veracruz.