Police Wednesday said they have "solid evidence" to back the ban on a soccer club from the country's soccer league over match-fixing allegations.
China's Football Association (CFA) announced its decision to disqualify the second division team Qingdao Hailifeng from the league on Tuesday, amid a crackdown to rid the game of corruption.
The Qingdao-based club was also fined 200,000 yuan ($29,000). The club appealed immediately after the decision was announced.
Wednesday, police authorities revealed the details of how Du Yunqi, president of the club, ordered his players to kick own goals against Sichuan Zhigu to bring the score of the match closer, so he could win more money, according to Xinhua.
Du bet money on his team to win on an international gambling site before the match kicked off on Sept 2 last year.
With just 20 minutes left in the game, Qingdao Hailfeng was leading three goals to zero.
Du learned that if either of the two teams scored one more goal the odds would change and ensure him fatter cash returns.
He sent a text message to Du Bin, the captain of the team, who illegally carried a mobile phone onto the field: "Must have one more goal," Xinhua quoted the police as saying.
With only five minutes left, Du was substituted at the pitch. According to a report, he shouted out to his teammates: "We must win or lose a goal."
Du then organized three players to shoot own goals, but all attempts failed.
The game ended with Qingdao Hailifeng winning 3-0 but the team's fans were furious.
Fuming Qingdao fans started accusing the club of fixing the match, even as the club's management defended it, saying, "Passing the ball back to the goalkeeper was a part of the strategy."
Club president Du even tried to fire captain Du Bin and the three players who attempted own goals to avoid being investigated by the CFA.
The Qingdao club also took 500,000 yuan from Chengdu Xiefeilian to lose a crucial match against them last year, police said.
Qingdao Hailifeng has been playing in the second division league for seven years. The club's "routine" of performing well at the beginning of the season and starting to lose games halfway through had their fans smelling a rat.
The club's president disappeared when he heard the Ministry of Public Security had launched a crackdown on football gambling and match fixing last October. He was later nabbed and is now in police custody. Captain Du Bin has also been formally arrested as further investigations are ongoing.
"The ban on Qingdao Hailifeng is equivalent to the death penalty for the club," said Zhou Ming, the spokesperson of CFA's discipline committee. "But disqualifying the club doesn't mean the players will be disqualified too."
Beside Qingdao Hailifeng, two top Chinese soccer clubs, Guangzhou GPC and Chengdu Blades, were demoted to the second division, the CFA announced.
The Guangzhou team was penalized for paying bribes in Aug and Sept 2006, while the Chengdu Blades paid bribes in September 2007, the CFA said, without providing details.
"We were mentally prepared for such punishment," Guangzhou head coach Peng Weiguo said earlier. "We will fight on."
Fans believe that gambling, match-fixing and crooked referees are the cause of the national team's dismal performance at the international level.