In China, the trial of Xie Yalong, one of the highest level officials implicated in a widespread match-fixing scandal within Chinese Football, is now underway. Xie, the former Vice-President of the Chinese Football Association is facing charges of bribery and is one of just a number of former top officials and referees within the CFA now being called to answer for their alleged actions. Our Peter Koveos has a closer look at the trial which is underway in Dan Dong, Northeastern China.
Xie Yalong was escorted to the court by police on Tuesday morning. For the last decade Xie, had been a respected Chinese sports official, but he is now accused of taking bribes which amount to more than 1.7 million RMB.
Those allegations are in stark contrast to his vow to bring change to Chinese football and eliminate what he described as a culture of bribery within the sport in the country.
Xie Yalong said, "Betting, and dishonesty are one thing. Betting triggered the corruption in Chinese football. Coaches, players, and officials were all involved. I changed and became dishonest under these circumstances."
|Xie Yalong arrives at the Dandong Intermediate People's Court in Dandong, Northeast China's Liaoning province, April 24, 2012. [Photo/CFP]
Xie worked as CFA Vice President from 2005 to 2008, a time that has been the focus of the corruption scandal. Club officials turned to Xie to manipulate the outcome of league matches in exchange for thousands of RMB.
Xie Yalong admitted his crimes and says the reason he began taking bribes was because it was an accepted aspect of Chinese football.
Xie also said, "If I refused to take the money, I would have offended them, which means that I could lose these connections. I was confused until I broke the law. I tried to refuse the payments, but I couldn't. I made a mistake because I went against my better judgment."
Meanwhile, former Chinese national football team manager Wei Shaohui also stood his trial in Dan Dong, where he was accused of taking bribes of more than 1.2 million RMB.
A number of former CFA officials and former Chinese internationals will also be questioned as the inquiry continues.
(CNTV April 26, 2012)