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Former CFA vice chief Yang Yimin jailed 10.5 years for bribery

Updated: 2012-02-19 09:51
( Xinhua)

TIELING, Liaoning Province - Yang Yimin, former  Chinese Football Association  (CFA) vice president, was sentenced to 10 years and a half for taking 1,254,000 yuan ($199,202) in bribes at the first trial by the Intermediate People's Court of Tieling here on Saturday.

On February 16, four referees including former "golden whistle" Lu Jun were sentenced up to 7 years imprisonment on first trial by the Intermediate People's Court of Dandong. The stage on Saturday moved to the city of Tieling, where the special police task force on invesgating the match-fixing cases and football corruptions is based.

Yang Yimin was convicted of bribery by using his position as the CFA deputy director between 1997 and the end of 2009, to get the money from more than 20 companies and individuals. Yang also had personal property worth 200,000 yuan (31,770 US dollars) confiscated.

"At the beginning when I received 300 to 500 yuan from a club, I would return the money. But gradually I began to accept it from those I'm familiar with," 56-year-old Yang once told Xinhua in the detention center before the trial.

"I have been reflecting on my problems these days. I should have been a good model in the leading positon, but I'm not honest and clean. My case has brought some negative effects on the cause of Chinese football. I want to apologize for the fans and the nation, and I'm willing to compensate for that in any way."

Yang accepted the result and claimed that he will not appeal.

Also on trial Saturday were ex-director of the CFA referee committee  Zhang Jianqiang and dozens of staff from different Chinese professional football clubs, who were involved in football corruption, match-fixing or gambling.

Zhang was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for bribery and non-state staff bribery, and was confiscated personal assets worth 250,000 yuan(39,713 US dollars). Zhang took 2.38 million yuan (378,071 US dollars) in bribes from eight clubs and two local football administrative centers.

Zhang was also convicted of non-state staff bribery by accepting  700,000 yuan (111,197 US dollars) to ask referee Lu Jun to help Shanghai Shenhua beat Shanghai International in a crucial 2003 season top division league game and win the title of the league, after which Zhang and Lu split the money.

Zhang seemed to be satisfied with the result and drop appealing.

Wang Po, former general manager of Shaanxi and Tibet Huitong club,  was sentenced to eight years jail life for taking bribes for match-fixing and fraud. Wang Xin, former manager of Liaoning Guangyuan clbu, was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for taking bribes and organising gambling. Du Yunqi, former manager of Qingdao Hailifeng, was sentenced to 7 years for bribe-taking.

Li Zhiming, former board of directors of Shaanxi Guoli club, was  sentenced to five years imprisonment for taking bribes in rigging games.

China's professional football leagues have been plagued with  allegations of gambling, match-fixing and corruption for years. In order to clean up the game, a nationwide crackdown on gambling and match-fixing was launched by the government in 2009, when a high profile committee was set up by 12 ministry-level bodies.

However, there are still several former CFA key members involved in the corruption cases whose date of the trials has not been announced. Among them are former vice president of CFA Nan Yong and his predecessor Xie Yalong, former national team leader Wei Shaohui, former director of the CFA referee committee Li Dongsheng.

Several Chinese top flight clubs, including Shandong Luneng, Shanghai Shenhua, Henan Jianye, Changchun Yatai and Jiangsu Shuntian, were involved in these cases, which may cause a headache for the CFA with regards to how to punish them before the new season CSL, which is scheduled to start in March.

The CFA have made some changes in their supervision system and disciplinary rules and regulations after the large-scale action. A number of CFA staff have been changed, and the decision-making mechanism, the financial control of the professional leagues have become more transparent and democratic.

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