Fri, January 22, 2010
China > Mainland > Clampdown on soccer gambling and match-fixing

Police summon top soccer officials in match-fixing probe

2010-01-21 08:42:23 GMT2010-01-21 16:42:23 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Police have summoned three high-ranking officials of China's soccer association to help with an investigation into match-fixing and gambling scandals, Ministry of Public Security (MPS) announced Thursday.

Police in Liaoning Province summoned Nan Yong and Yang Yimin, both vice chairmen of the Chinese Football Association (CFA), and Zhang Jianqiang, former director of the association's referee committee, said a statement released by the MPS.

"With the full support from the sports department, the crackdown on manipulating domestic soccer matches through commercial bribery has showcased a firm attitude in fighting corruption and rectifying the soccer sector," said the statement.

"The crackdown also gives us confidence and hope to revitalize the development of Chinese soccer," it said.

This was the third time the ministry released details of the ongoing nationwide probe into match-fixing and gambling scandals exposed in China's soccer leagues.

Last November, the MPS said at least four people had been detained for suspected bribery. In December, police made more arrests, including You Kewei and Xu Hongtao, two former leaders with Chengdu Sheffield United Football Club in the Chinese Super League (CSL).

"I hope police can dig out the crux of the problem that obstructs the development of Chinese soccer, and come up with satisfactory answers for the fans," said Xu Jiali, a lawyer with the discipline committee of last season's CSL.

The CFA said in a statement on its website in November, "Gambling and match-fixing are severe violations of Chinese law and cancers that damage soccer. We should resolutely stamp them out in the sport."

The police crackdown began in March 2009 when a high-profile committee was set up by 12 ministry-level organs to clean up corruption in Chinese soccer.

Last October, President Hu Jintao, Vice-President Xi Jinping and State Councilor Liu Yandong stressed the need to revitalize soccer in China.

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