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December 16, 2010

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Soccer chief brought bribe cash to city

THE former general manager of Shanghai Shenhua Football Club has confessed to bringing 12 million yuan (US$1.8 million) into the city to pay players for fixing a crucial match.

Lou Shifang said he was a middleman in a plan to buy the result of a match in China's top soccer league in 2003 for a team facing relegation, a local newspaper said yesterday.

The result also meant that Lou's Shanghai Shenhua was crowned champions.

Lou, who has been detained by police in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, admitted that he helped struggling Tianjin Teda bribe players from Shanghai International, Teda's opponent in the last fixture of the season, reported the Oriental Morning Post yesterday.

International was derby rivals of Lou's club, Shenhua, and both were vying for the league title, with Shenhua a point ahead.

Bribes worth 12 million yuan were said to be paid to three star players and Teda defeated the International side 2-1, securing its top-flight status for another season.

For his role, Lou received 1 million yuan, said the newspaper.

Lou said International demanded payment by cash within three days.

He said he managed to transport the money from Tianjin to Shanghai by train.

With International losing, Lou's Shenhua won the 02/03 championship, even though it lost its final match of the season.

Lou was detained by police in October after three former International players, Shen Si, Qi Hong and Jiang Jin, and former Teda manager, Zhang Yifeng, had been detained.

The newspaper also claimed former top officials of the China Football Association, Nan Yong and Yang Yimin, were involved.

Nan, former vice president of the association, even persuaded players to fix the game, it said. Nan and Yang were arrested in March.


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