Home » Chen Xuyuan: Corrupt ex-Chinese football Chief rewarded

Chen Xuyuan: Corrupt ex-Chinese football Chief rewarded

by Lesley Ngwa
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  • Chen Xuyuan, the former head of the Chinese Football Association, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for accepting bribes totaling over 81 million yuan
  • The conviction is part of a broader anti-corruption campaign in China’s sports, banking, and military sectors, spearheaded by President Xi Jinping
  • This scandal has caused a significant setback to China’s ambition of becoming a football powerhouse, despite the sport’s continued popularity in the country

Chen Xuyuan, once at the helm of the Chinese Football Association (CFA), has received a life sentence for engaging in bribery, state media reports. Admitting to the charges in January, Chen was found to have accepted bribes amounting to 81 million yuan, that is over $11.2m.

The crackdown on corruption, led by President Xi Jinping, has swept through various sectors, including sports, where numerous football coaches and players have come under scrutiny.

Chen’s trial, held at Huangshi’s Intermediate People’s Court, shed light on his corrupt dealings from 2010 to 2023, including his tenure as president and chairman of the Shanghai International Port Group.

He was accused of taking money and gifts in return for contract favors and event organization. The court’s decision highlighted the severe harm Chen inflicted on the football community, as reported by Xinhua.

Additionally, three other high-ranking football officials were handed sentences ranging from eight to 14 years for similar corrupt practices. In a related development, Li Tie, a former Everton midfielder and ex-coach of China’s national team, admitted to match-fixing and bribing, including Chen, to secure the top coaching position.

The case also touched international grounds, with South Korea’s Son Jun-ho, a player for Shandong Taishan, being detained and later released in connection with bribery.

President Xi’s vision of transforming China into a footballing giant has faced challenges, especially after the imposition of a salary cap in 2020 aimed at nurturing local talent over foreign imports. The recent arrests have further dampened China’s football dreams, yet the sport remains widely followed, with Chen’s scandal leaving fans in disbelief.

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