A TV grab of a China Central Television (CCTV) report on the soccer referees' corruption case shows Zhang Jianqiang, former director of the Chinese Football Association's (CFA) referee committee appears on court on Dec.19, 2011. [Photo/sports.sina.com.cn]
A former soccer club manager was put on trial Tuesday morning as the first round of Chinese soccer corruption trials went into the second day.
Wang Po, general manager of Shaanxi Guoli club, stood trial on charges of bribe-taking and fraud in the Intermediate People's Court of Tieling in northeast China's Liaoning province.
Soccer referees Huang Junjie and Zhou Weixin will appear before the Intermediate People's Court of Dandong in another Liaoning city. Both were charged with taking bribes as non-state staff with Zhou facing an additional count of bribing civil servants.
More than two years after the nationwide clampdown on gambling and match-fixing began in late 2009, Zhang Jianqiang, former director of the Chinese Football Association's (CFA) referee committee and former women's soccer chief, became the first defendant in the Intermediate People's Court of Tieling.
Zhang is alleged to have started taking bribes in 1997 when he received 400,000 yuan from the Shaanxi Guoli team and arranged for a referee to be in favor of the club in a critical match. Shaanxi won and got promoted to the second-division of the domestic league.
The top-flight league's winners, Shandong Luneng and Shanghai Shenhua, also got involved. Shandong club allegedly gave Zhang 400,000 yuan after winning the domestic league and the CFA Cup in 2000 while Shanghai paid him 700,000 yuan in 2003 for the title match, which he is said to have split with the referee, Lu Jun.
Zhang did not deny the charges.
"No morals, no criterion, no check and supervision. It was the reality," said Zhang in an interview with CCTV before the trial.
The verdict was not delivered in court on Monday and Zhang could face a sentence of up to 20 years if convicted, law experts said.