Former club manager and referees on trial for soccer corruption

December 20th, 2011 - 6:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Shaan Tieling (China), Dec 20 (IANS) A former football club manager and two referees were put on trial Tuesday as the first round of Chinese soccer corruption trials went into its second day.

Wang Po, former general manager of Shaanxi Guoli club, faced trial on charges of bribe-taking and fraud in the Intermediate People’s Court of Tieling in northeast China’s Liaoning province. The two referees Huang Junjie and Zhou Weixin appeared before the Intermediate People’s Court of Dandong in another Liaoning city, Xinhua reported.

Born in 1955, Wang Po used to work as a police officer before starting his own business. He became general manager of Shaanxi Guoli in 2003, moving the relegated club to Ningbo, Zhejiang, in 2004 and to Harbin, Heilongjiang, in 2005 before the club was disqualified from the second tier league for failing to pay players wages.

Then Wang became general manager of Tibet Huitong club in late 2005, moved the club to Taiyuan, Shanxi, and changed the club’s name to Shanxi Wellsend in 2006.

Wang is notorious for using his position to take bribes for match-fixing and also allegedly bet on matches involving his own team with an overseas football gambling website to make money. He was detained by police in the nationwide crackdown on football corruption in 2009.

Huang and Zhou were both charged with taking bribes as non-state staff with Zhou facing an additional count of bribing civil servants.

Huang from Shanghai had worked as a football referee for more than 20 years. He was selected as one of the three nominees for the best referee of the year in 2009 although a series of controversial rulings were made by him during the season.

In early 2010, Huang was arrested by the police. Like Huang, Zhou was also often caught with controversial rulings and sometimes even wrong decisions.

During a Chinese Super League match Oct 2, 2004, between Beijing Guoan and Shenyang Jinde, Zhou ruled a penalty kick in favour of Shenyang in the second half, which resulted in furious protest from the players and coach of Beijing.

The Beijing team refused to continue the match and left the pitch out of rage and Zhou ruled the the match ended with Beijing losing.

The Chinese Football Association (CFA) later slapped an eight-match ban on Zhou for his “misjudgement” in the match, although many suspected Zhou made the mistake on purpose.

The long-awaited trials for corruption in Chinese soccer started Monday morning in Tieling with Zhang Jianqiang, ex-director of CFA’s referee committee, being the first to face court.

The ex-deputy director of the Chinese Football Administrative Center, Yang Yimin and Lu Jun, the best known Chinese soccer ref who once officiated in World Cup and Olympic Games, will stand trial Wednesday.

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