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Bribery cases tarnish Chinese soccer

  • AP, Wednesday, April 25, 2012 1:50 PM

Two former leaders of China's soccer association are among eight officials and players on trial for bribery.

Courts in the northeastern province of Liaoning are hearing the cases of Xie Yalong and his successor, Nan Yong. Xie is accused of taking $273,000 in bribes from sports equipment manufacturers, professional teams, and a former national team coach. Nan is accused of taking at least $160,000 in bribes. Others on trial include former national team coach Wei Shaohui, former head of referees Li Dongsheng, and four former national team players. Xie's lawyer Jin Xiaoguang told People's Daily that the defendant confessed to crimes he did not commit '"because he wanted to stay alive."

Chinese soccer is plagued by the bribing of coaches, players and officials by gambling syndicates. New anti-graft measures, stronger finances, and the import of expensive foreign talent have since lifted the China Super League, although current CFA boss Wei Di on Wednesday warned against backsliding.

''Lessons have been learned from the scandals, but similar cases might happen again in the future. So we must stay vigilant all along,'' Wei said in Beijing.

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