Concluding its three-year-long drive to clean up Chinese soccer, the Chinese Football Association (CFA) punished a total of 58 officials, including former CFA heads Xie Yalong and Nan Yong, and imposed fines of up to one million Yuan (approx. 160,000 U.S. dollars) over twelve clubs, including Super League club Shanghai Shenhua.
According to the Xinhua state news agency, Xie, Nan and Yang Yimin, a former CFA deputy head, and World Cup referee Lu Jun were among the 33 people banned from soccer for life. Former Chinese national team members Shen Si, Qi Hong, Jiang Jin and Li Ming – all serving a 5-1/2 years jail term for bribe-taking, were also banned for life. Xu Hong, who recently took the helm of super league club Dalian Arbin, was among the 25 people banned from the game for five years.
The CFA discipline commission imposed a one million Yuan (160,000 U.S. dollars) fine on super league club Shenhua, which had fixed a game en route to winning the 2003 league title. The Shanghai club was also deducted six points for next season.
Tianjin Teda was also fined one million yuan and will start next season with minus six points for fixing a 2003 league game against Shanghai International. Jilin Yanbian was fined 500,000 yuan and deducted three points for throwing a match in 2006.
The three clubs must return the awards they won during the years of wrongdoing, meaning that Shenhua would lose its 2003 league title.
“These violations of CFA regulations include match-fixing, bribing giving and taking, and gambling,” a spokesman for the CFA discipline commission was quoted as saying by Xinhua. “Some violations dated back to over 10 years ago.”
He blamed “the lack of legal criteria, imperfect soccer system and lax supervision and management” on rampant corruption in Chinese soccer.
The announcement of the punishments came a few weeks only after Wei Di stepped down as chief of the CFA after a three-year tenure which saw the sport’s shameful past of match-fixing and bribery finally tackled. The 58-year-old Wei was removed over poor results and a need to prepare for the 2016 Rio Olympics. During Wei’s tenure, the team failed to reach the 2014 World Cup after finishing third in a group topped by Iraq and Jordan.
The campaign to clean up Chinese soccer was launched in 2009; the former CFA chairmen Nan Yong and Xie Yalong were jailed for corruption,
along with a number of former international footballers and top referees, and were both given sentences of 10 and a half years in June 2012.
The above article was first appeared in The Sport Intern, a blog published by Karl-Heinz Huba in Lorsch, Germany. This article is reprinted here with permission from the blog publisher. Mr. Huba can be reached via email at ISMG@aol.com.