By Sportswriters Ma Xiangfei and Li Zheng
SHENYANG, Northeast China, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- In China, a soccer league match could be won at a bargain price.
A First Division league match in 2006 was won by the side who paid 200,000 yuan (29,000 U.S. dollars), said the police in northeast China's Liaoning Province which spearheaded what was regarded the biggest ever crackdown on soccer match-fixing and gambling.
"The schemes were similar. Team A would take bribes from Team Bto let B win, while (players and officials) from Team A, knowing the predetermined result, would wager through foreign gambling websites," said a Liaoning police officer on the investigation team.
In 2006, Shanxi club officials Wang Xin and Wang Po offered to give Guangzhou Pharmaceutical FC a much-needed victory at the price of 200,000 yuan, the officer said.
To ensure their promotion into the top flight Chinese Super League, Guangzhou paid.
"Shanxi officials hinted that we could buy the victory. We finally gave them the money because we wanted to play it safe in our run for promotion," former Guangzhou deputy manager Yang Xu said after being detained by police.
Guangzhou took a stunning 5-1 win and was promoted the following season while Wang Xin and Wang Po pocketed over 100,000 yuan by placing bets on this match.
"In the past, teams might let their opponents win 'goodwill' games, but now gambling is what they are manipulating matches for," the officer said.
Chinese police have detained at least four people on suspicion of influencing domestic matches through commercial bribery.