May 22, 2024 5:33 pm
China sentences sports officials to 8 years in prison for accepting bribes

The Communist Party-controlled sports programs in China have come under intense scrutiny in a wide-ranging crackdown on corruption, with officials receiving sentences ranging from eight years to life in prison for taking bribes and committing financial crimes.

At the heart of this scandal is Chen Xuyuan, the former president of the Chinese Football Association, who was convicted of fixing matches and committing financial crimes and sentenced to life in prison. The court ordered the confiscation of all his personal property, recovery of illegal gains, and turning them over to the state treasury. Other officials sentenced for taking bribes include the former head of the National Athletics Association, Hong Chen, former high-ranking soccer official Chen Yongliang, and Dong Zheng, former CEO of Chinese Football Association Super League Company.

The Chinese football leagues, backed by real estate firms, have faced financial instability due to overextension and debt repayment issues. This has affected player payments and the overall growth of soccer in China. Despite earlier successes, the national men’s and women’s teams struggle to rank internationally.

Corruption in Chinese soccer is often linked to payoffs to players and referees to influence match outcomes in favor of gambling syndicates. Allegations of payments to secure spots for players at training camps for top teams have also surfaced. The economic slowdown and increased government involvement in sports, culture, and private businesses have impacted the potential success of Chinese football goals.

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