One of the best known foreign players in the Chinese Super League, Jorg Albertz, fired a parting shot at the competition yesterday, alleging it is rife with corruption. German Albertz, whose previous clubs include Rangers, Hamburg and Fortuna Dusseldorf, spoke after his Shanghai Shenhua side surrendered their league title in the 3-1 loss to new champions Shenzhen Jianlibao.
'I have heard of so many things going on, of players and teams selling games,' he said. 'How can we have played at one level last year and at this level this year? There are things that I cannot accept in football. It's the main reason I am going home.
'You can't win if there are three or four players betting against your own team to make money. I'm the last one to say that this has happened in my team - anyway it's not something you can prove - but you can't play as bad as we did this season.'
Albertz's disillusionment cut a marked contrast to his jubilation a year ago when Shenhua clinched their own championship success with a 4-1 win in the same Shenzhen stadium.
His comments follow a season which has been marked by rumours of corruption in the Chinese game. There have been repeated allegations of 'black whistles' among the referees. Teams walked off the field in protest at officials' decisions and there was briefly a threat of the fixture list not being completed because of a possible boycott by disgruntled clubs.