Jermaine Pennant is set to leave Singapore’s Tampines Rovers after turning down a reduced offer on his “super-scale salary”.
Club chairman Krishna Ramachandra said it would “create a social injustice” to carry on paying Pennant, 33, his reported £23,495-a-month salary while his team-mates took a pay cut.
The former Premier League winger joined the club in January on a one-year deal.
“He’s a great player, but no player makes the team,” said Ramachandra.
“He’s had a huge impact on the club and Singapore football. Someone of his stature and frankly quite iconic status engenders an excitement and vibe which was much needed for Singapore football in the early stages of the season.”
Pennant, who played 24 times for England Under-21s, said that without further investment in the game, even the signing of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi would fail to grow the sport in the country.