A soccer referee who took a bribe to fix a match has returned the money with a letter of remorse for his actions. The gesture came in the wake of allegations of corruption in the game being aired in the national media. The man faxed the letter, without adding his name, to the Lu Cheng team, based in Hangzhou, which plays in the second division of China's professional league. He also returned the 40,000 yuan (HK$37,700) it had paid him to fix a result. The corruption issue gathered pace in the media on December 13 when Jili, a car company that bought a soccer club in Guangzhou, filed a lawsuit in Guangzhou against the Chinese Football Association. The company demanded a public apology and compensation of 300,000 yuan for a statement the association made on the actions of the second division team during and after a key game it said had been fixed. But Jili later admitted paying tens of thousands of yuan in bribes to referees, as did the Lu Cheng club. The letter is in the hands of the Zhejiang Sports Bureau after being forwarded from Lu Cheng, along with the 40,000 yuan. Bureau officials quoted the letter as saying that the referee had received 40,000 yuan from Lu Cheng. 'I am a referee who came to Hangzhou to take charge of one game involving Lu Cheng and received a bribe from them through a middleman,' the referee wrote. 'I want to express my praise and support for the bravery of Jili and Lu Cheng in bringing this matter to light, especially Lu Cheng, which wants to remain in the second division next season.' By admitting it had paid bribes, Lu Cheng runs the risk of being expelled from the league. Jili has already announced its withdrawal from the sport. Bureau director Chen Peide said the letter showed that the authorities had not paid enough attention to the problem and that corruption and pay-offs were increasing. Mr Chen proposed offering protection to people who were willing to reveal their involvement in bribery. An association official said corruption not only affected Chinese soccer and its professional league but was part of a wider trend in society.