China Tackles Soccer Corruption
A Chinese court sent a clear message that Chinese authorities were serious about rooting out corruption in football when they sentenced thirty-nine people for bribery and match-fixing.
Former deputy head of China’s football association Yang Yimin was sentenced on Saturday to 10½ years for taking $200,000 in bribes. Another high-profile official was former head of the referees’ committee, Zhang Jianqiang, who received a 12-year sentence for taking bribes totaling $433,000.
Although the league’s problems date as far back as 2001, the Chinese government decided to clamp down on football corruption after a 2009 match fixing scandal that rocked the Chinese association.
Chinese football looked like it was destined for greater success after their World Cup appearance in 2002. However they failed to continue their good form and their performance against other countries has since taken a nosedive.
We think the actions of Chinese courts are well justified. Apart from making the good game a complete farce, corruption affects the quality of local teams which make teams less competitive when playing other nations.
China was knocked out of 2010 World Cup qualifying last year, failing to make the top 10 sides in Asia. Most sports fans now opt to follow basketball which has been gaining popularity with sporting fans.
In light of the Asiagate soccer scandal that rocked Zimbabwe’s football maybe Zimbabwean authorities can take notes from our Chinese brothers.