The trial has begun in China of a former national football official and a club officer accused of taking bribes and match-fixing.
A former director of the Chinese Football Federation is accused of taking nearly 300,000 euros between 1997 and 2009 from eight clubs and two administrative centres to nobble match referees. They included Lu Jun, a former Chinese “Golden Whistle” who officiated in the 2002 world cup.
Under Chinese law, state staff taking bribes face much tougher penalties compared with those who are not civil servants, including possible death sentences.
China’s professional soccer leagues have been plagued with allegations of gambling, match fixing and corrupt referees for years. A nationwide crackdown on gambling and match fixing was launched in 2009.