FIFA bans 58 for China match-fixing

Zurich, Feb 25 (IANS/RIA Novosti) FIFA Monday imposed worldwide football bans on 58 players and officials over a match-fixing and bribery scandal in China.

The 58 had already been banned by the Chinese Football Association over match-fixing in the late 1990s and early 2000s following a series of trials, FIFA said.

The 58 include two former heads of the Chinese FA, a World Cup referee and four former players in the Chinese national team, reports in the local media said.

Of those banned, 25 received five-year sanctions and the remaining 33 life bans, FIFA said, without specifying who was handed which punishment.

Chinese authorities have been keen to crack down on football corruption in a much publicised drive for reform over the last three years.

Leading club Shanghai Shenhua, which fielded Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba this season, was stripped of its 2003 national title and fined last week following a match-fixing probe.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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IANS