Ex-World Cup ref known as 'golden whistle' jailed for match fixing
February 17, 2012 -- Updated 1227 GMT (2027 HKT)
One of China's most famous soccer referees, Lu Jun, has been sent to jail for fixing matches
- Former World Cup referee Lu Jun jailed in China for match fixing
- China's state news agency reports Lu Jun sentenced to five and a half years
- Jun found guilty of accepting $128,000 to fix seven matches in Chinese league
- Three other referees also found guilty of match fixing and handed jail terms
(CNN) -- He was the soccer referee known as "golden whistle" who officiated in high-profile events such as the World Cup and the Olympics.
But a Chinese court has called fulltime on Lun Ju's career by jailing him for match fixing.
China's state news agency Xinhua reported on Thursday that Lu has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison by a court in Liaoning Province after accepting $128,000 to fix seven matches in China's national league.
Three other officials -- Huang Junjie, Wan Daxue and Zhou Weixin -- were also jailed for seven, six, and three and a half years respectively.
The cases were brought after a government crackdown on persistent allegations of gambling, match fixing and corruption in China's football leagues was launched in 2009.
But it is the fall of Lu that has grabbed the most headlines around the world. He was the first Chinese official to referee at a World Cup, when South Korea and Japan hosted the showpiece event in 2002.
Prior to that he had taken charge of matches at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and was twice voted referee of the year by the Asian Football Confederation.
But the court in the city of Dandong, near the border with North Korea, found that Lu had altered the outcome of seven games that involved four clubs including Shanghai Shenhua, who have just signed former France striker Nicolas Anelka from English club Chelsea.
Huang was convicted of accepting $247,975 from seven separate cases while $31,760 of his personal assets were also confiscated.
Zhou was proved to have taken $77,829 to fix eight games. In 2004 he awarded a penalty in a Chinese Super League match that prompted seven clubs to protest against the Chinese Football Association.
Zhou and Huang were also found to have fixed the outcome of two international matches, while Wan was convicted of accepting $149,306 to influence games.
Former CFA vice-president Yang Yimin and ex-CFA Referee Committee director Zhang Jianqiang are due to be sentenced on February 18, Xinhua reported.
The fact that several of China's top clubs were alluded to in the court cases also casts doubt on the new league season, due to begin in March, as they await to hear if they will be sanctioned.
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