Further to the January edition of the Corruption Digest, 39 people have been found guilty of charges relating to corruption within Chinese football.
Among them, referee Mr Lu Jun was sentenced to five-and-a-half years imprisonment, Mr Lu Feng six-and-a-half years, Mr Zhang Jianqiang twelve years and Mr Huang Junjie seven years and confiscation of personal property worth 200,00 RMB ($31,760).
In other cases, football referee Mr Zhou Weixin was sentenced to three years and six months imprisonment for receiving bribes as non-state staff, former deputy chief of the Chinese Football Association and the Chinese Football Administrative Centre, Mr Yang Yimin, was sentenced to 10 years and fined 200,000 yuan and former president of the Chinese first division club Qingdao received seven years imprisonment.
A senior sports reporter has criticised the outcome of the investigation, remarking: “These referees are the scape-goats for the big bosses. The root cause of the soccer scandal is the system itself”.
Chinese football has historically been plagued with gambling, match-fixing scandals and corrupt referees and administrators. Fans have begun to turn their back on the game, preferring to support the big European clubs instead.