Guangdong sports officials punished; 6 Chinese players banned for life over fixing
Published: Dec 25, 2022 10:17 PM
File photo

Sixteen sports officials in South China's Guangdong Province, including Wang Yuping, director of the provincial sports bureau, have been punished after investigation confirmed an August football game had been manipulated.

Wang, Lei Jianjun, deputy director of the bureau, and Ouyang Ziwen, head of the sports bureau of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, were dismissed for dereliction of duty.

The investigation started in August as the controversy on match-fixing ­scandal of the youth football match between two teams of Guangdong Province became trending news on Chinese social media platforms.

The Guangzhou Football Association has been suspended for two years as a member of the Chinese Football Association (CFA) and six players were given a lifetime ban, bringing the total number of banned amateur footballers to 59, according to figures on the CFA's website.

The final was staged in Qingyuan of Guangdong Province between Guangzhou and Qingyuan on August 7. 

Leading 3-1 approximately midway through the second half, Qingyuan's players appeared to suddenly stop trying to compete, merely strolling aimlessly around the pitch instead. 

That allowed Guangzhou to score four times in 13 minutes to win 5-3 in the end.

The Qingyuan players were mostly from the Evergrande Football School owned by the Evergrande Real Estate Group, the majority shareholder of the Chinese Super League side Guangzhou FC. Evergrande said Sunday they have dismissed club chairman and Evergrande Football School headmaster Wang Yajun. 

After the match replay was broadcast online, the incident became trending news on social media. The hashtag "Possible match-fixing at Guangdong provincial games' football final" had been viewed over 170 million times on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, with many netizens expressing questions over the strange match.

"Those 13 minutes were so weird, including the number of players and their attitude on the pitch. Up until the 20th minute of the second half, ­Qingyuan led 3-1. However, for the next 10 minutes, there were just 10 Qingyuan players on the pitch. The best evidence is just the replay of the match," football commentator Dong Lu wrote online.

The CFA then launched a probe into the match. Then the provincial commission for discipline inspection and the provincial supervision commission also established an investigation team to find out the truth and conduct in-depth investigations into the problems of ineffective performance of duties and dereliction of duty in the incident.