New Chinese soccer chief takes office

Updated: 2013-01-28 14:19


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BEIJING - Zhang Jian, 47, former director of Policy and Regulation Department of China's Gerneral Administration of Sport, formally replaced Wei Di as the Chinese soccer chief on Friday.

Cai Zhenhua, deputy director of the General Administration of Sport, announced the decision at the meeting attended by both Zhang and Wei, and other Chinese Football Association (CFA) officials.

Cai said the decision was made with an eye of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Wei, who took office of the CFA in early 2010, will be in charge of Chinese car and motor sports.

The 58-year-old Wei was regarded as "firefighter" when he entered the CFA with the background of then CFA vice-presidents Nan Yong and Yang Yimin being arrested for their alleged involvement in corruption and match-fixing.

Cai said that Wei made numerous contribution to Chinese football in his three-year term as he stabilized the environment of Chinese football when it was trapped by corruption and match-fixing.

However, a series of lackluster performance of the Chinese national teams brought Wei a lot of criticism from media and fans.

During Wei's term, China failed to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2012 London Olympic Games. In the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, China was ousted after the group stage, and the U19 and U17 sides were both eliminated at the Asian youth championships without a single win. The women's national team was out of the World Cup for the first time and missed the London Olympics.

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