Jail term for former Chinese soccer chief

A pro­m­inent former soccer boss and a referees director were handed long jail terms for bribery and match-fixing in China on Saturday as part of a massive anti-graft drive aimed at cleaning up the corruption-blighted local game.

Yang Yimin, a former deputy-chief of the Chinese Football Association, was sentenced to 10 and a half years in prison by a Tieling court in China's northeastern Liaoning province, and ordered to pay a 200,000 yuan ($32,000) fine, state media reported. 

Yang, one of the highest-ranking officials to be swept up in the probe launched over two years ago, had taken bribes totalling 1.25 million yuan on 40 different occasions from domestic clubs and individuals, Xinhua news agency said.  

Yang would not appeal the sentence, the agency quoted Yang's attorney Wang Shujing as saying. "The punishment isn't harsh," Wang said. "Yang took bribes as a government official and the harshest punishment for taking bribes as a public servant could be the death penalty,’’ Shujing added.

The court also sentenced the CFA's former referees director Zhang Jianqiang to 12 years in jail, with a fine of 250,000 yuan. Zhang, in his capacity as referees director and in other prominent roles in women's and amateur soccer, had taken bribes from a number of clubs in the top-flight domestic competition, the Chinese Super League (CSL), including Shandong Luneng and Shanghai Shenhua.

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