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China FA boss resigns amid contract row

17 Jan 2013 17:16:48

China FA boss resigns amid contract row

The head of China's football ruling body quit Thursday, state media said, plunging the sport into new controversy with reports his exit was linked to a row over the contract of the national team's Spanish coach.

Wei Di stepped down as chief of the Chinese Football Association after a three-year tenure which saw the sport's shameful past of match-fixing and bribery finally confronted, but poor results from the national side.

The 58-year-old oversaw a financial drive to improve China's performance on the pitch, centred on the appointment of former Real Madrid and Spain boss Jose Antonio Camacho on a reported $8 million-a-year contract in 2011.

Sources cited by official news agency Xinhua appeared to suggest Wei, who was "close to the age of retirement", was forced out over poor results and a need to prepare for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

During Wei's tenure, the team failed to reach the 2014 World Cup after finishing third in a group topped by Iraq and Jordan.

But other reports said unspecified "internal conflicts" were responsible, while Chinese Internet portal Netease cited an unnamed insider saying Wei was blamed for a "loophole" in Camacho's contract requiring the CFA to pay his income tax.

CFA officials had expected corporate sponsors to pay the tax but they had refused, the website said.

"There are a lot of people looking at the CFA and Wei Di about this matter and wondering if there will be explanation," it added.

No-one from the CFA was immediately available to comment.

Wei oversaw a crackdown on match-fixing and bribe-taking which saw his predecessors Nan Yong and Xie Yalong jailed for corruption, along with a number of former international footballers.


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