33 banned for life for fixing soccer matches on mainland

Punishments mark latest twist in mainland's biggest sport corruption case, netting about 50 officials, including club owners and referees

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 February, 2013, 5:17am

Thirty-three people, including two former Chinese soccer chiefs, have been banned for life from future soccer-related activities in the latest development in the mainland's biggest sports corruption crackdown, which has brought down about 50 sports officials, soccer club owners and referees.

Quoting the Chinese Football Association's disciplinary committee, Xinhua reported on Monday that Xie Yalong , former head of the Chinese Football Administrative Centre (CFAC), and his successor, Nan Yong , were banned for life along with 31 other soccer officials, soccer club owners, referees and several star players.

Both Xie and Nan were jailed for 10-1/2 years in June for taking bribes. They were also each ordered to pay 200,000 yuan (HK$246,460) in fines.

The former deputy head of the Chinese Football Association, Yang Yimin , who was also jailed 10-1/2 years last year and fined 200,000 yuan for accepting 1.25 million yuan in bribes and match-fixing, was another of those banned for life.

Four former national team players, including Qi Hong and Shen Si , key players in the mainland's only trip to the World Cup finals, in 2002, were also banned for life. They were jailed for up to six years last year for match-fixing.

Lu Jun, an international referee dubbed "the first whistle in Asia" for his impartiality, was also banned from soccer for life.

Lu was jailed for seven years in February last year for bribery and match-fixing after he admitted taking 350,000 yuan via a middleman after Shanghai Shenhua thrashed Shanghai International 4 -1 in a derby match and went on to win the league championship in 2003.

One official from the disciplinary committee told Xinhua that the committee had decided on the punishment after considering the court verdicts, the circumstances surrounding the scandal and their impact on the future direction of soccer on the mainland.

Another 25 people were banned from the sport for five years and 12 mainland soccer clubs were fined between 500,000 and one million yuan for match-fixing and bribery from 2003 and 2006.

The disciplinary committee fined Shanghai Shenhua one million yuan for fixing a pivotal match with Shaanxi Guoli on its way to winning the Jia A league championship in 2003, which was then the nation's top league.