Match fixing: footballer’s jail term reduced

April 11th, 2008 - 1:55 pm ICT by admin  

Singapore, April 11 (DPA) The seven-month jail term of an S-League footballer who took money from his manager to throw a game was cut to five months, news reports said Friday. Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong said that Zhao Zhipeng, a 26-year-old forward, had been under the thumb of a controlling general manager and had “no choice” but to fix the match.

Zhao was the first of seven Liaoning Guangyuan footballers accused of match fixing to be convicted. Manager Wang Xin, who was charged with offering bribes to all his players, jumped bail in January.

All the players are Chinese nationals.

Wang, the alleged mastermind of the bribery scandal, was a much-feared disciplinarian, The Straits Times reported.

Zhao did what Wang ordered out of fear, lawyer Raymond Lye said Thursday in court.

Wang “held a firm grip” on the players and “controlled their fate and destiny”, Lye was quoted as saying.

The footballer pleaded guilty in February to accepting 2,000 Singapore dollars ($1,500) from Wang to help his side lose a match by at least three goals.

A district court judge sentenced Zhao to prison for seven months.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Christopher Ong said that the original sentence was correct given the growing international popularity of the S-League.

“The taint of corruption … would also be carried back to these foreign shores,” Ong said, tarnishing Singapore’s image.

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