Chinese soccer chief sacked after being questioned by police   2010-01-22 14:36:28 FeedbackPrintRSS

BEIJING, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese soccer chief Nan Yong, who was recently summoned in a police investigation into match-fixing scandals, was removed from office on Friday.

Nan, who took over as head of the Chinese Soccer Administrative Center early last year, had been taken away by a police investigative group which have been probing a series of match-fixing scandals in Chinese soccer.

Deputy director Yang Yimin and Zhang Jianqiang, who used to be in charge of referee arrangements in the Chinese professional leagues, were also questioned by police.

Cui Dalin, Vice Minister of China's General Administration of Sport (GASC), announced the decision on Friday to dismiss Nan and Yang.

"The GASC has decided to appoint Wei Di as the new director of China's Soccer Administrative Center," Cui told a small group of reporters from seven media organizations including Xinhua News Agency and Central Chinese Television.

"The decision to remove Nan Yong as director and Yang Yimin as deputy director has also been made since both of them are now helping the police in investigations into the commercial bribery and match-fixing cases," said Cui.

Wei Di, former head of China's Water Sports Administration, had also been in charge of Chinese boxing and weightlifting, but he has little experience in soccer.

On Thursday, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security (MPS) announced that Nan, Yang and Zhang had been summoned by the police in the northeastern province of Liaoning to "clarify some facts in several important cases of soccer gambling and match-fixing in domestic league games."

It was the third time that the MPS released details of the ongoing nationwide probe into soccer scandals.

Last November, the MPS said at least four people had been detained for suspected bribery. In December, police made more arrests, including You Kewei and Xu Hongtao, two former leaders with Chengdu Blades club.

The nation-wide crackdown started in March 2009 when a high-profile committee was set up by 12 ministry-level bodies to clean up corruption in Chinese soccer.

At an internal meeting of the Chinese Football Association on Wednesday, two other vice chairpersons, Xue Li and Lin Xiaohua, officially took over the jobs of Nan and Yang.

Editor: Li Xianzhi
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