Post by masterplan200 on Dec 20, 2011 18:12:16 GMT -5
A corrupt Chinese referee has admitted accepting bribes to fix a Manchester United friendly in 2007.
Huang Junjie, named on a three-man shortlist for China’s referee of the year in 2009, is standing trial at the Intermediate People’s Court of Dandong in Liaoning Province, where he has admitted taking bribes of more than £163,000.
Huang admitted accepting bribes over two friendlies – Manchester United's 6-0 victory against Shenzhen in July 2007 and a 2009 fixture between Sydney FC and Shanghai Shenmue – and six Chinese club matches between 2005 and 2009.
There is no suggestion of wrong-doing by United or any of their players and the club admitted surprise on Tuesday when told of the revelations in China. A United spokesman said: “We had been unaware of this until now, but if there are any questions to be asked, then we are waiting to be contacted. We do not expect to hear anything, however.”
United faced Shenzhen at the Macau Stadium on the third leg of the club’s 2007 summer tour of the Far East. They coasted to victory with goals from Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs, John O’Shea, Chris Eagles and Nani. Huang has admitted to fixing the coin toss to enable Shenzhen to kick-off. He received £8,000 from fellow referee Zhou Weixin.
Macau, a former Portuguese colony, has become one of the world’s leading centres of gambling – nicknamed the Las Vegas of the East – since returning to Chinese control in December 1999.
Huang and Zhou were arrested by police in March 2010 and Zhou is also facing charges of corruption as well as bribing civil servants.
According to reports in China, Huang and Zhou were repeatedly involved in controversial incidents during Chinese Super League fixtures.In 2004, Zhou was given an eight-match suspension by the Chinese Football Association for awarding a contentious penalty to Shenyang Jinde during a league game against Beijing Guoan. The Beijing team refused to continue the match and walked off in protest. The incident led to Zhou being banned for ‘misjudgment’.
Huang and Zhou are the first referees to face court following a two-year police crackdown on football corruption in China. Lu Jun, a former World Cup referee, will stand trial this week..
Zhang Jianqiang, the former head referee of the Super League, was in court on Monday to face charges of accepting match-fixing bribes totalling £261,000.
Concerns over the extent of match-fixing in China have led to the state television network, CCTV, refusing to broadcast Super League games. Major companies and sponsors have also turned their back on the game, choosing instead to invest money in overseas clubs.
However, there are still huge riches in Chinese football, as was shown this week with news that Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka had signed for Shanghai Shenhua on a two-year deal worth £175,000 a week.
His former team-mate at Chelsea, Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Michael Ballack, is also rumoured to be joining the club next season.
Would I ever leave this company? Look, I’m all about loyalty. In fact, I feel like part of what I’m being paid for here is my loyalty. But if there were somewhere else that valued loyalty more highly… I’m going wherever they value loyalty the most.