Ex-soccer chief Nan Yong charged with taking bribes


Nan Yong is taken to the court by police on Wednesday.[Photo/CFP]

Nan Yong, the former director of the Chinese Football Administrative Center, went on trial Wednesday in a court in the northeastern Chinese city of Tieling, a day after court proceedings opened against his predecessor Xie Yalong on similar charges.

The 50-year-old Nan, named as a vice chairman of the Chinese Football Association at the age of 35, was instrumental in China's only appearance in the World Cup finals as he hired Serbian coach Bora Milutinovic despite voices of opposition and oversaw the qualifying campaign as the team's chef de mission.

Nan was arrested in 2010 with his associates Yang Yimin and Zhang Jianqiang, who had been sentenced in February's bribery trials to 10 1/2 years and 12 years in prison respectively.

In Dandong, Li Dongsheng, the former head of the CFA's referees committee, faced charges of bribery and embezzlement.

Qi Hong and Jiang Jin, the key players in China's successful run to the 2002 World Cup finals, were on trial with Shen Si and Li Ming.

The four former Chinese national team members were accused of taking bribes to fix a 2003 Chinese league game, in which their team, Shanghai Guoji, lost 2-1 to Tianjin Teda.

The result sent their crosstown rival Shanghai Shenhua to the league title and prevented Tianjin from being relegated.

Sources said that the four players received bribes totaling 8 million yuan ($1.27 million).

Nan and Xie Yalong are the highest ranking officials caught in China's ever-widening crackdown on soccer corruption, which has brought down dozens of high-ranking soccer officials, referees and players.

Tuesday's trial against Xie lasted nearly 11 hours and was eventful as his defence team moved to have all his confessions abandoned since they were obtained "illegally".

Xie, charged with taking over 1.7 million yuan ($273,000) in bribes, told the court that he had confessed to some of the alleged charges since someone had "forced him" during earlier interrogations.

Xie's lawyer Jin Xiaoguang told People's Daily official website that his defendant feared for his life during the interrogations and confessed to crimes he did not commit "because he wanted to stay alive."

Factfile of Nan Yong:

Born: June 16, 1962

Graduated from Shenyang Physical Education Institute


1984 - Human Resources Department of State Physical Culture and Sports Commission

1997 - Vice chairman of the Chinese Football Association

2001 - Chef de mission of the Chinese team which qualified for the 2002 World Cup finals

2005 - Party secretary and deputy director of the Chinese Football Administrative Center, head of the Chinese Super League

2009 - Director of the Chinese Football Administrative Center, vice chairman of the Chinese Football Association