China bans 33 for life, fines clubs millions

18 February 2013 06:46

China's top football body handed down a swathe of punishments including fines worth millions, it said on Monday, as it seeks leave behind corruption scandals which have plagued the sport in China.

China's Football Association banned 33 people, including some previously jailed for their involvement in China's biggest ever match-fixing scandal, from taking part in football "for life," it said on its website.

Those hit by the bans include former heads of the Football Association Nan Yong and Xie Yalong, who were previously handed jail sentences for taking bribes, and Xu Hong, the newly installed head of East China club Dalian Aerbin.

The Association also handed down a range of fines and other penalties relating to offences several of which date back years.

Two clubs involved in match-fixing in 2003, Tianjin Teda and Shanghai Shenhua, face one million Yuan ($160,000) fines and point deductions next season, the association said, while Shenhua was also stripped of its 2003 league title.

Other clubs were handed fines and point deductions for bribery and match throwing.

China has engaged in long-running battle to clean up the corruption which has damaged the reputation of its flagship Super League, with a high profile crackdown launched in 2009 leading to several jail-sentences.

The league has struggled to retain high-profile foreign talent, with star striker Didier Drogba leaving Shenhua this year, following his former Chelsea teammate Nicolas Anelka, who has joined Italian giants Juventus on loan.

Football is a popular sport in China, where commentators say corruption in the Super League has reduced match attendances and contributed to the poor record of China's national team.

Source: AFP