The Chinese Soccer Association on Tuesday stripped Shanghai Shenhua of its 2003 Chinese Super League title while banning 33 league officials and players for life following the conclusion of a three-year investigation into bribery, match-fixing and gambling in the league, the Xinhua news agency reported. In addition, Shenhua has been issued a six-point penalty for the forthcoming season and fined $160,000; another 11 clubs were fined the same amount and penalized between three and six points each.
While Shenhua, which was briefly the home of former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, has yet to comment on the punishment, its main investor, computer game mogul Zhao Jun, wrote the following on his Twitter account: "The entire city is upset at the punishment. We all belong to Shenhua, no matter whether in past or present, no matter how difficult or how much we have been wronged, we will stand and bear it.”
According to the report, Shenhua was found guilty of fixing a game against Shanxi Guoli on its way to winning the 2003 CSL title. Among those banned for life were former association chiefsNan Yong and Xie Yalong, who were sentenced to 10 years and six months in prison apiece, as well as 2002 World Cup refereeLu Jun, and four former Chinese internationals: Shen Si, Qi Hong, Jiang Jin andLi Ming, who were all earlier sentenced to up to six years in prison for taking bribes.