The Chinese Football Association (CFA) on Wednesday slapped the toughest punishment since its professional league was launched in 1994, on five second division sides for "playing games passively".
Changchun Yatai, which would have been promoted next season after finishing second in the recently-concluded second division league, was ruled ineligible for next year's first division, while Sichuan Mianyang will be relegated to the third division in 2002, according to a CFA statement released on Wednesday.
Chengdu Wuniu, who had collected as many points as second-placed Yatai but were behind on goal difference, trounced Mianyang in a rugby-style score of 11-2 in the penultimate round of the second division league on September 29.
In the last round of, Wuniu scored four goals in less than 20 minutes, coming from two goals down to beat Jiangsu Shuntian 4-2, while Zhejiang Lucheng were thrashed 6-0 by Yatai.
The CFA report said the five teams "lacked the spirit of fair play" in these matches and the results "tarnished the image of Chinese soccer".
CFA also decided to bar all the domestic players of these punished clubs, who played in the three suspicious matches, from registration for the 2002 season and stripped their rights to transfer in the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
Meanwhile, the coaches of the five teams have been "revoked of coaching licenses" for one year and the five clubs are barred from introducing domestic players in 2002 and 2003, said the CFA.
(People’s Daily October 18, 2001)