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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Former soccer heads given jail time


BEIJING — Two former heads of China's soccer association were sentenced Wednesday to 10½ years in prison each for taking bribes, as part of a sweeping crackdown on corruption in the sport.

Xie Yalong and his successor, Nan Yong, were also ordered to pay 200,000 yuan ($31,700) in fines by courts in the northeastern cities of Tieling and Dandong.

The verdict against Xie, who was convicted of taking bribes worth $273,000, was closely watched since his lawyers have moved to have his confessions ruled inadmissible, claiming they were obtained by torture.

Xie said he confessed to some of the allegations only after being beaten and subject to electric shocks and other abuse. Police in Xie's case issued a denial to the torture allegations, although Chinese police are believed to frequently employ physical abuse to coerce confessions.

In other verdicts, four former national team players were sentenced to up to six years and fined 500,000 yuan ($79,000) for taking bribes to help fix the result of a professional league game.

Two local association and team officials were also given suspended two-year sentences for paying bribes.

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