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School admits cheating in soccer tourney

THE principal of a middle school in Chongqing Municipality apologized yesterday for allowing his schoolgirls' soccer team to cheat in an international competition.

The team won World Girls Middle School Football Championship earlier this month with a team mostly made up of professional players recruited from the Chinese women's youth team. Only three of the players attended the school.

Zhang Jianling, the principal of Daping Middle School, said 15 of the players were hired, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday. "The cheating has marred the reputation of Chongqing and China," he said.

Zhao Yuanzhen, the dean of the Yuzhong District Education Commission, said Zhang had been given a demerit punishment.

Zhang said the school had not notified the local education authority about the composition of the team before sending it to Turkey.

Previous media reports said the Chongqing government had asked the school to explain the issue to the organizers and return the championship cup.

The scandal came to light after a media report revealed the school had drafted professional players from the Chinese women's youth team to its schoolgirls' team to compete in the World Schools Football Championship in Antalya, Turkey.

The school, which came sixth in last year's Chinese middle-school girls soccer championship, grabbed the opportunity to represent China in the international event after the first five schools said they could not afford to attend.

Eager to win, the school contacted the national youth team for help, according to Daping team coach Li Weiping.

The national team agreed to help, regarding it as a good opportunity for top-level competition. The school promised to cover any expenses.

The team won the championship by beating Germany 8-6 in the final on April 12.


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