Chinese soccer chiefs jailed for corruption

Nan Yong is widely credited with helping China reach the 2002 World Cup.

Story highlights

  • Former top-level Chinese officials sentenced to over 10 years in jail
  • Nan Yong, Xie Yalong are both former heads of the Chinese Football Administrative Center
  • Four former national team players also sentenced to over five years behind bars
  • Match officials and team owners also found guilty in a wide-ranging case

Two former high-ranking Chinese football officials have been handed 10-and-a-half-year jail terms for bribery in a widespread crackdown on corruption.

China's Xinhua news agency reported that four former national team players and a number of match officials and team owners were also given prison sentences as a match-fixing case, which began over two years ago, drew to a close on Wednesday.

Nan Yong, once the director of the Chinese Football Administrative Center, was handed the lengthy term at a court in the city of Tieling for accepting bribes in excess of 1.48 million yuan ($233,000) between 1999 and 2009. He was also fined 200,000 yuan ($32,000).

Meanwhile in the city of Dandong, Xie Yalong, who previously held Nan's post, was given an identical sentence for accepting 1.36 million yuan in bribes, Xinhua reported.

Xie was also fined 200,000 yuan, despite claiming in April that he had been tortured into giving a confession.

Former national team midfielder Shen Si, who represented China 39 times between 1995 and 2002, was sentenced to six years, while fellow players Qi Hong, Jiang Jin and Li Ming have been handed five-and-a-half-year terms. Each of the four players were also fined $79,400.

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Chinese football has seen its profile boosted over the last 12 months, with a number of big-name stars joining the country's Super League.

French striker Nicolas Anelka swapped English team Chelsea for Shanghai Shenhua in January, while former Argentina coach Sergio Batista was appointed by the club last month as replacement for Jean Tigana.

Italy's World Cup winner Marcello Lippi is now coach of Guangzhou Evergrande, who have also recruited highly-paid players such as Argentine playmaker Dario Conca and Paraguay's Lucas Barrios.

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