Four referees arrested in China match-fixing scandal

BEIJING: Four top Chinese referees, including one former World Cup and one current international official, have been taken for questioning by police investigating match-fixing in Chinese soccer,

state media reported on Monday. The Global Times newspaper named the four as Lu Jun, who officiated at the 2002 World Cup finals but is now retired, Huang Junjie, who has been on the FIFA’s international list since 1998, women’s referee Shen Huangying and Guangdong referee Zhou Weixin.

The head of the Chinese Football Association (CFA) Nan Yong and referees committee chief Zhang Jianqiang were arrested last week for their part in the scandal, which has also taken in more than 20 other officials. Lu, 50, earned the nickname “golden whistle” for his reputed integrity after China’s “black whistles” match-fixing scandal of the early years of this century.

He refereed the group stage match between Poland and the United States and another between Croatia and Mexico at the World Cup finals in South Korea and Japan eight years ago. Huang, 43, has taken charge of several internationals, including World Cup qualifiers involving Japan and Saudi Arabia.

Wei Di, who has replaced Nan as head of the CFA, said he had not been taken aback by the development. “It is not a surprise that referees are involved,” he told the Beijing Times at the weekend. “As far as I know, Huang has been taken away by the police to cooperate in the investigation. Lu has retired. I don’t know if he has been cooperating with the investigation.” As well as the individual prosecutions, Guangzhou and Chengdu clubs were relegated from the top flight Chinese Super League (CSL), while a second division Qingdao club have been kicked out of professional football altogether for match-fixing. reuters

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