Zurich – Match-fixing bans on 58 Chinese soccer officials and players will be extended worldwide, the sport's governing body Fifa said on Monday.
The 58 were banned by the Chinese Football Association (CFA) on February 18 following a three-year push to clean up rampant corruption in the sport in China.
“The sanctions by the Chinese Football Association's disciplinary committee involve players and officials, with 25 receiving a five-year ban from all football activities while the remaining 33 individuals were banned from all football activities for life,” a Fifa statement said.
“The Chairman of the Fifa Disciplinary Committee has extended the sanctions to have worldwide effect.
“In taking those sanctions and notifying Fifa of them, the CFA has emphasised its on-going commitment to stamping out all forms of match-fixing and corruption in the game.”
China's Xinhua news agency reported last week that the 58 included two former football chiefs who were jailed in June for accepting bribes in a scandal.
Nan Yong, the former head of Chinese football, was sentenced to 10 and a half years for taking bribes worth more than $237,500 while his predecessor Xie Yalong received an identical sentence and was also fined 200,000 yuan.
Former CFA deputy head Yang Yimin and World Cup referee Lu Jun, once hailed as China's “Golden Whistle”, were also among the 33 banned from football for life.
Others included four former Chinese national team players Shen Si, Qi Hong, Jiang Jin and Li Ming, all jailed for up to six years in June for match-fixing.
The sentences “followed investigations and trials conducted by Chinese judicial authorities between 2010 and 2012 in which the Chinese Football Association (CFA) cooperated fully,” Fifa added.
“The cases involved relate to incidents of match-fixing that took place in the 1990s and early 2000s.”
Super League club Shanghai Shenhua, who recently lost big name strikers Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka to Galatasaray and Juventus, were fined one million yuan and deducted six points for next season for fixing a game in their 2003 league-winning campaign.
Fifa has been especially keen to be seen to be cracking down on corruption after European anti-crime agency Europol caused consternation in the game when it announced on February 4 that around 680 matches were suspected to have been fixed in a global betting scam run from Singapore.
Critics said many of the matches were already known about. – Reuters