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China’s War on Sports Corruption: Cracking Down on Match-Fixing and Financial Crimes in Chinese Soccer

Chinese sports officials sentenced to 8 years in prison for bribery charges

China’s War on Sports Corruption: Cracking Down on Match-Fixing and Financial Crimes in Chinese Soccer

In recent years, China has been cracking down on sports corruption and the Communist Party has issued sentences ranging from eight years to life in prison to officials in sports programs controlled by the party. Among those who received a life sentence for their involvement in match-fixing and financial crimes is Chen Xuyuan, the former president of the Chinese Football Association (CFA).

Chen Xuyuan’s conviction was not surprising as he had faced allegations of accepting bribes and committing financial crimes. The court ordered the confiscation of all of Chen’s personal property and the recovery of his illegal gains to be turned over to the state treasury. Other high-ranking officials who were sentenced to prison for accepting bribes include the former head of the National Athletics Association, Hong Chen, and former high-ranking soccer official Chen Yongliang.

The Chinese Football Association Super League, largely backed by real estate firms, has faced financial instability due to concerns about the financial health of these companies. The payments to players aimed at enhancing the league’s brand and potential in China and internationally have faced challenges due to these concerns.

Corruption in Chinese soccer has long been an issue with reports of payoffs to players and referees to influence match outcomes. There are also allegations of payments made to secure spots for players in training camps, including the national men’s squad, which is currently ranked 88th by FIFA. The women’s national team holds the 19th spot.

These issues are further compounded by economic slowdowns and government intervention in sports, culture, and private enterprises. These factors have hindered China’s efforts to improve the competitiveness and success of its soccer programs.

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