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Ex-China soccer president jailed for all times over $10m bribes


A former president of China‘s soccer affiliation has been sentenced to life in jail for accepting greater than $10 million in bribes, the nation’s state media reported on Tuesday, following one of many greatest anti-corruption probes within the sport in years.

The sentence handed right down to Chen Xuyuan got here within the wake of probes into greater than a dozen high-level soccer officers since late 2022. Chen had introduced “great harm” to Chinese language soccer, the official Xinhua information company reported, citing a courtroom ruling.

The game has lengthy grappled with corruption, which followers have blamed for the enduring underperformance of the nationwide staff. In 2012, two former chiefs of the identical soccer affiliation had been every sentenced to 10-and-a-half years in jail for taking bribes.

Chen, 67, had labored on the docks in Shanghai when he was a youth. He ultimately grew to become the pinnacle of Shanghai Worldwide Port Co within the 2010s, earlier than chairing the Chinese language Soccer Affiliation (CFA) in 2019.

A courtroom in central Hubei province discovered Chen had taken benefit of his varied posts from 2010 to 2023, together with these linked to the CFA, to help others in issues concerning challenge contracting, funding operations and sports activities occasions preparations, Xinhua reported.

In return, Chen accepted cash and valuables value over 81 million yuan ($11.22m).

In a state TV documentary collection on corruption aired in January, Chen confessed to accepting bribes and described one incident the evening earlier than he grew to become CFA chairman when he obtained backpacks containing money from two native soccer officers.

Confessions of corruption have turn into a typical function on nationwide tv since President Xi Jinping got here to energy and unleashed a sweeping anti-graft marketing campaign.

“They got here into my room, casually positioned their backpacks on my couch, and mentioned, ‘congratulations, president Chen, we hope you possibly can maintain us extra,'” he mentioned.

“After I requested what they had been providing, they responded it’s only a custom and so they all do it this fashion.”

On Chen’s sentencing, the Folks’s Every day, the official paper of the ruling Communist Social gathering, mentioned there was no finish level to the struggle towards corruption.

“The systemic corruption in soccer is under no circumstances unintended,” the newspaper wrote. “It’s crucial to hint again to the supply and tackle the signs and root causes.”

Different soccer officers probed for corruption included Chen Yongliang, former CFA government deputy secretary-general, Liu Lei, a former director on the Wuhan Soccer Administration Centre, Yu Hongchen, a former vice head of the CFA, and Dong Zheng, a former common supervisor of the Chinese language Tremendous League.

Chen has been sentenced to 14 years in jail, Yu 13 years, Dong eight years, and Liu 2 1/2 years, in keeping with state media on Tuesday.

Li Tie, former males’s nationwide staff head coach, and Du Zhaocai, former CFA vice chairman, each equally accused of corruption, have but to obtain their judgements.