China starts trials for soccer corruption

Updated: 2011-12-19 09:28


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TIELING, Liaoning Province  - Long-awaited trials for Chinese soccer corruption started on Monday morning in the northeastern Chinese city of Tieling with Zhang Jianqiang, ex-director of the Chinese Football Association (CFA) referee committee, first appearing on court.

Zhang will be followed by Yang Yimin, ex-deputy director of the Chinese Football Administrative Center, on Wednesday morning, according to a notice posted by the Intermediate People's Court of Tieling.

Also facing trials next week at the Intermediate People's Court of Dandong, a border city in Liaoning, are several top referees including Lu Jun, the country's "golden whistle" who officiated at 2002 World Cup.

But the date for the trial of for former CFA vice-president Nan Yong, who was arrested in March 2010, and Nan's predecessor Xie Yalong, has yet to be announced.

China's professional soccer leagues have been plagued with allegations of gambling, match-fixing and corrupt referees for years, and the police launched a probe in 2009.