China to end bid for World Cup

0 CommentsPrint E-mail shanghaidaily, October 19, 2010
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China has indicated it is to give up its bid to host the 2026 World Cup as it grapples with the corruption and chaotic management that has crippled the sport for years.

The news came as a nationwide fight against soccer corruption intensified and expanded to include more people, including the former manager of Shanghai's Shenhua Football Club.

A China World Cup bid may be delayed by at least four to eight years, said Asian regional soccer chief Mohammed Bin Hammam in Zibo after Wei Di, president of the China Football Association confirmed that China wouldn't bid for the 2026 tournament if any of the four other Asian countries- South Korea, Japan, Qatar and Australia - is selected as the 2022 venue.

But if they fail, China will relaunch its bid for 2026, Wei told the Xinhua news agency.

China missed the deadline to bid for the 2022 tournament due to the ongoing corruption scandal, a CFA official told the Chongqing Evening News.

Media reports yesterday said that Lou Shifang, Shenhua's former manager, had been out of contact for several days after three former local star players had been taken away by police in their investigation into match fixing.

Phone calls and text messages to Lou went unanswered and his involvement in organizing a national Go game had ceased, the Xinmin Evening News reported yesterday.

The latest developments put Shanghai at the center of the fight against match fixing and gambling and added to speculation that the three former players, Shen Si, Qi Hong and Jiang Jin, may have been involved in a fixed match in China's first division.

Fan Zhiyi, former captain of the national team, is also likely to be put under investigation soon, Ran Xiongfei, a soccer reporter with Titan Sports, said on his microblog while talking about betting on China's matches during the 2002 World Cup. reported yesterday that insiders had voiced suspicions that six players in the national team were involved in match fixing and gambling in a game with Oman during the 2002 World Cup qualifiers.

China beat Oman 1-0, securing its spot among the 32 teams going to South Korea and Japan for the 2002 World Cup.

A series of match fixing and corruption scandals have tarnished the CFA's credibility and led to high-level management revamp and the nationwide investigation.

Several high-ranking officials, referees and coaches have been arrested or placed under investigation since the beginning of this year.

Xie Yalong, former vice chairman of the CFA, Nan Yong, former head of the CFA and retired referee Lu Jun, considered China's No. 1 and nicknamed "Golden Whistle," have all been arrested for allegedly accepting bribes to fix matches, placing players on or off the payroll of the national team and other charges.

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