China Match-Fixing An 'Endemic' Due To Low Player Salaries, Football Insiders Say
The deputy editor-in-chief of a popular Chinese sports newspaper and a former professional footballer said that match-fixing and bribery "are endemic in Chinese football, primarily because of low player salaries and unchecked local government officials," according to Jonathan Kaiman of the London GUARDIAN. The ex-footballer, who requested anonymity to avoid retaliation from former coaches and teammates said that Chinese footballers "were prone to accepting bribes because their salaries were often painfully low and delayed for months." Before he retired in '09, the player said that he would "often receive a phone call from an unknown number the night before a match." The caller, usually from a gambling syndicate, would "offer him thousands of pounds to let the other team win." The player said that he "never accepted their offers." The player said, "Most of the time, it was the defenders who got this kind of offer, because they could allow the other team to score." Chinese sports magazine Titan Weekly Deputy Editor-In-Chief Ma Dexing said that despite higher player salaries, football corruption "remained a problem because unchecked local government officials often manipulated matches to manage their political relationships." Ma said, "It has nothing to do with money. it's just because of face." Ma added that local officials "often had enormous power over football teams within their jurisdictions." Ma said, "They can ask the team's boss to kick a player off the team if the player doesn't listen to him" (GUARDIAN, 2/20).