Chinese Football Association president under investigation, marking deepening of anti-corruption campaign
Published: Feb 15, 2023 12:58 AM
Chen Xuyuan Photo: VCG

Chen Xuyuan Photo: VCG

Chinese Football Association (CFA) president Chen Xuyuan is under investigation on suspicion of serious violations of law and discipline, marking a deepening anti-corruption campaign after several senior CFA officials were charged with disciplinary violations, including former head coach of the Chinese men's football team Li Tie.

The investigation into Chen was revealed in a statement released on Tuesday on the official website of the Hubei Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Chen, who previously served as deputy director of the Shanghai Port Authority and Party secretary and chairman of Shanghai International Port Co, was elected president of the CFA in August 2019 and deputy Party secretary of the CFA in December of the same year.

Chen is not the first senior football association official to be investigated. Li Tie, former head coach of the Chinese men's football team, Liu Yi, former secretary-general of the CFA, and Chen Yongliang, executive deputy secretary-general and head of the national team's management department, have also been investigated by China's top discipline inspection agency.

Local disciplinary authorities announced that Li was under investigation for suspected serious violations of the law.

A netizen posted a screenshot of his real-name report on Li on his Weibo account in November 2022, saying that his annual salary of 8 million yuan ($1.25 million) was not linked to any performance evaluation, bearing in mind how poor the team's performance had been. The netizen said this was wasting "state property" and was an "abuse of power."

As the first head coach of the national football team to be investigated, Li's downfall made headlines on Chinese social media platforms, sparking public concerns over whether his case would trigger a new wave of probes as it has been 13 years since the 2009 crackdown on match-fixing and corruption in Chinese football.

But some hope that Li's case could be an opportunity for improving the Chinese soccer industry.

China's top disciplinary agency disclosed several corruption cases involving young officials and football gambling during the Qatar World Cup. "There is still a long way to go to eradicate the existence of unhealthy practices such as football gambling and to strengthen the education and oversight of young officials," according to a post on the official website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China and the National Supervisory Commission.

Global Times