China footballers and officials banned for match-fixing

Police officer outside Shanghai Shenhua
Image caption Shanghai Shenhua was found guilty of bribing officials to fix a league match

China's football association has banned 33 players and officials for life after a three-year probe into match-fixing.

The Shanghai Shenhua club was also fined 1m yuan (£103,000) and stripped of its 2003 league victory for fixing a match on its way to the title.

In recent years, China has increased efforts to clean up its football, which has been hit by a series of scandals.

Over the past year, more than 50 officials, referees and players have been jailed.

The corruption and rigging has at times been blatant, says the BBC's John Sudworth in Shanghai.

One infamous match ended with a team clearly seen trying to score an own goal, he says.

Attracting talent

Shanghai Shenhua was found guilty of offering bribes to officials to secure a 4-1 victory against Shanxi Guoli, Chinese media report.

Image caption Former Chelsea star Didier Drogba stayed at Shanghai Shenhua for just one season

In addition to the fine, the club was given a six-point penalty for the coming season, as was another top-division side, Tianjin Teda, which was also fined 1m yuan, said China Daily.

In total, 12 clubs have been given financial or points-based penalties, Xinhua reports.

Among the officials banned for life were two former heads of the Chinese football league, Nan Yong and his predecessor Xie Yalong, who are already serving 10-and-a-half years each in jail after being convicted of accepting bribes.

Another 25 players and officials have been given five-year bans.

China's football authorities hope that by cracking down on corruption cases they will raise standards and attract foreign talent to play in the country.

Former English Premier League players Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka both joined Shanghai Shenhua in 2012, but left after just one season.

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