Chairman of the Chinese Super League company put under disciplinary investigation
Published: Aug 31, 2023 12:45 AM
Liu Jun Photo: IC

Liu Jun Photo: IC

Liu Jun, senior Chinese football official and chairman of the Chinese Super League (CSL) company, has been placed under disciplinary investigation for the suspicion of severe violation against disciplines and laws, the Hubei Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection announced on Wednesday.

Liu, 47, has become the 14th significant figure in the Chinese football society to be placed under graft probes since last November when Li Tie, former head coach of China men's national soccer team, was charged with corruption and bribery, according to Beijing Youth Daily.

So far, all six successive and incumbent chairmen of the CSL company have fallen since the establishment of the company that operates CSL in 2006.

Liu has been a high-profile figure in football for over 10 years. He joined the early preparations for the organization of Chinese Football League (CFL) at the end of 2018. In July of 2021, Liu was appointed as the deputy team leader of the preparatory group of the CFL and later became the chairman of the CSL company, responsible for professional league business development and operation.

The investigation into Li Tie last November marked the beginning of a new round of anti-corruption efforts in the domestic football circle. Since 2023, more than 10 high-ranking and mid-level officials of the Chinese Football Association (CFA) as well as former officials of the CSL company have been put under investigation on suspicion of disciplinary and legal violations.

The originally planned three-month internal rectification and education campaign within the CFA, scheduled to conclude at the end of August, will reportedly be extended by two weeks.

Former CFA vice president Li Yuyi and former CSL company chairman Ma Chengquan have been placed under investigation for serious violations of discipline and law, according to the statements published by Hubei Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Since the central discipline group has been dispatched to China's General Administration of Sport (GAS), high-ranking officials in the fields of football, basketball, winter sports, track and field, and rowing have been investigated, according to reports.

Gao Zhidan, director of the GAS, said during a meeting on Monday that sports reform has entered a critical period, and the anti-corruption fight in the field of sports is grim.

Ni Huizhong, 54, former secretary-general of China's delegation for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, as well as the Party chief and director of the National Winter Sports Administrative Center of the GAS in 2017, was under investigation on suspicion of seriously violating Party discipline and laws, Chinese sport authorities announced on August 26. Ni was an important figure in the preparations for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

One day before Ni's probe was announced, Chongqing's discipline inspection authorities reported that Li Yaguang, a former vice president of the Chinese Basketball Association and head coach of the Chinese women's basketball team, had been expelled from the Party.

Global Times