CFA launches probe over club’s match-fix­ing claims

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By SUN XIAOCHEN sunx­i­aochen@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

The Chi­nese Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion launched a probe on Sun­day into al­le­ga­tions of match-fix­ing made by a sec­ond-tier club af­ter a con­tro­ver­sial penalty de­ci­sion.

In re­sponse to a claim by Meng Yongli, chair­man of Baod­ing Rongda FC, that his club’s 2-2 draw with Wuhan Zall on Satur­day was ma­nip­u­lated in their op­po­nent’s fa­vor, the CFA said it has called on the pro­fes­sional league coun­cil and the ref­er­ees’ com­mit­tee to in­ves­ti­gate, adding that it will se­verely pun­ish any­one found in­volved in match-fix­ing.

“We will han­dle the case se­ri­ously and re­spect the club’s con­cerns. But we urge the club and the fans to re­main calm. The re­sult of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion will be re­leased in a timely man­ner,” the CFA said in a state­ment on Sun­day.

In a post-match news con­fer­ence, Meng ques­tioned the of­fi­ci­at­ing of the game, in par­tic­u­lar a con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sion by the ref­eree to award Wuhan Zall a penalty dur­ing eight min­utes of in­jury time, which re­sulted in the game end­ing in a draw.

“We can’t af­ford for the game to be played like this any longer. If it con­tin­ues, even­tu­ally no one will play,” Meng said be­fore burst­ing into tears, bring­ing the news con­fer­ence to an abrupt end. He later as­sem­bled me­dia on the stadium’s pitch and an­nounced the with­drawal of the club from the sec­ond-tier league in protest.

“We want to present a strong re­minder to the gov­ern­ing body that we need a clean and trans­par­ent en­vi­ron­ment to play the game,” he said later on Sina Weibo.

Peo­ple within the soc­cer world urged the club to hold back from mak­ing any rash de­ci­sions and to co­op­er­ate with the CFA probe.

“The penalty was a 50-50 call. There was con­tact be­tween the two play­ers. It was also scored in the third minute of stop­page time, so it is un­rea­son­able to ques­tion the eight min­utes of added time,” said Zhao Zhen, a com­men­ta­tor with goalchina.net.

Li Yi, a for­mer China na­tional team striker, said on Weibo: “Con­tro­ver­sial calls are part of the game. If the club quits the league, it is the play­ers and fans of the team that will suf­fer.”

We urge the club and the fans to re­main calm. The re­sult of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion will be re­leased in a timely man­ner.” Chi­nese Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion state­ment

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