China sentences sports officials to 8 years in prison for accepting bribes

Amidst a comprehensive crackdown on sports corruption in China, the former president of the Chinese Football Association has been handed a life sentence. The Communist Party-controlled sports programs have come under intense scrutiny, with officials receiving sentences ranging from eight years to life in prison for taking bribes and committing financial crimes.

Chen Xuyuan, the former CFA president, was found guilty of fixing matches and financial crimes and was sentenced to life imprisonment. The court ordered the confiscation of all his personal property, recovery of illegal gains, and turned them over to the state treasury. Other officials who were sentenced for taking bribes include the former head of the National Athletics Association, Hong Chen, former high-ranking soccer official Chen Yongliang, and Dong Zheng, former CEO of Chinese Football Association Super League Company.

The Chinese football leagues have faced financial instability due to overextension and debt repayment issues. This has affected player payments and hindered the growth of soccer in China. Despite earlier successes, the national men’s and women’s teams struggle to rank internationally.

Corruption in Chinese soccer is often linked to payoffs to players and referees to influence match outcomes in favor of gambling syndicates. Allegations have also surfaced that payments were made to secure spots for players at training camps for top teams. The economic slowdown and increased government involvement in sports, culture, and private businesses have further impacted the potential success of Chinese football goals.

By Aiden Johnson

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