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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 21, 2010

Soccer: China officials questioned in match-fixing probe

Associated Press

BEIJING — Investigators are questioning three leading Chinese soccer officials about allegations of match fixing, state media reported Thursday.

The move is the latest in a push to rid the Chinese game of the taint of cheating and raise the level of play following complaints from top party leaders.
Last month, 16 team officials were arrested along with others suspected of bribing or threatening players and referees to determine the outcome of games they had bet on.
Investigators in Liaoning were questioning Nan Yong and Yang Yimin, both vice chairmen of the Chinese Football Association, along with the former director of its referee committee association, Zhang Jianqiang, the Xinhua News Agency said.
“With the full support from the sports department, the crackdown on manipulating domestic soccer matches through commercial bribery has showcased a firm attitude in fighting corruption and rectifying the soccer sector,” Xinhua reported in quoting a statement from the national police.
Soccer is popular in China, even though the men’s national team is ranked No. 97.
The top-tier, 16-team China Super League hit a attendance record average of 16,300 a game last season. Sponsors Nike and Pirelli have made a combined annual commitment of $22 million to sponsor the league.