A prominent former football
boss and a referees director were handed long jail terms for
bribery and match-fixing in China on Saturday as part of a
massive anti-graft drive aimed at cleaning up the
corruption-blighted local game.
Yang Yimin, a former deputy-chief of the Chinese Football
Association, was sentenced to 10-and-a-half-years in prison by a
Tieling court in China's north-eastern Liaoning province, and
ordered to pay a 200,000 yuan ($32,000) fine, state media
Yang, one of the highest-ranking officials to be swept up in
the probe launched over two years ago, had taken bribes
totalling 1.25 million yuan on 40 different occasions from
domestic clubs and individuals, Xinhua news agency said.
Yang would not appeal the sentence, the agency quoted Yang's
attorney Wang Shujing as saying.
"The punishment isn't harsh," Wang said. "Yang took bribes
as a government official and the harshest punishment for taking
bribes as a public servant could be the death penalty."
The court also sentenced the CFA's former referees director
Zhang Jianqiang to 12 years in jail, with a fine of 250,000
Zhang, in his capacity as referees director and in other
prominent roles in women's and amateur football, had taken bribes
from a number of clubs in the top-flight domestic competition,
the Chinese Super League (CSL), including Shandong Luneng and
He had taken money from Shenhua to help them win the 2003
league title, Xinhua said. He also did not intend to appeal.
The Tieling court read out trial verdicts and sentences to a
total of 39 people, including Du Yunqi, former president of CSL
club Qingdao, who received a seven-year sentence.
Former Liaoning Guangyuan Club general manager Wang Xin was
also sentenced to seven years in prison while former general
manager of Shaanxi Guoli Wang Po received a eight-year term.
Football fans set off fireworks outside the court to celebrate
the rulings, Xinhua said.
Chinese football has been dogged by match-fixing scandals for
years which, along with violence on and off the pitch, has
turned fans off the domestic game.
Four referees, including Lu Jun, a former World Cup match
official once celebrated as China's "Golden Whistle," were
handed jail terms of up to seven years on Thursday for
match-fixing and corruption-related offences.
Two of the most prominent people caught in the
anti-corruption blitz, former CFA heads Nan Yong and Xie Yalong,
are yet to go on trial.
The verdicts have cast a cloud over the CSL ahead of its
March 10 kick-off with administrators facing the embarrassment
of a number of scandal-hit teams set to take the field.
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