Famed footballer claims innocence in match-fixing

By Yan Weijue (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2010-11-09 14:40
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Famed former footballer Fan Zhiyi has claimed he is innocent of any allegations of match-fixing or gambling in an interview with Dongguan Times.

Famed footballer claims innocence in match-fixing

"I have played soccer in China for too many years. I am not afraid of being investigated by the police at all. I am not even qualified for their investigation because I am arguably the most innocent footballer ever in China," Fan said.

He added that most of those accused were involved in corruption from 1998 to 2003 during which he was playing overseas.

Fan's statement came at a time when unsubstantiated rumors online suggested he might become embroiled in the national crackdown. He said he decided to speak out to tell people that he has nothing to do with gambling on football.

Fan Zhiyi is a football icon in China and captained the national soccer team on scores of occasions. He joined Crystal Palace in the English First Division in 1998 where he became the first Chinese footballer to play in the English league. He retired in 2005 and is now the head coach of Shanghai East Asia in the Chinese League One.