Shanghai Shenhua stripped of 2003 title
Shanghai Shenhua, which was briefly home to star strikers Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka, has been stripped of its 2003 league title, had six points deducted for next season, and fined €120,000 as part of a three-year drive to stamp out match fixing in the Chinese Super League.
Chinese soccer has struggled for years to shake off charges of bribery, shoddy on-field performances and the effects of corrupt refs known as “black whistles”.
Shenhua were found guilty of fixing a game against Shanxi Guoli en route to winning the 2003 championship, the Xinhua news agency reported.
Shenhua’s main backer, computer games tycoon Zhao Jun, wrote on his Twitter-like Weibo microblog that the club suffered from “internal problems”.
The Chinese Football Association also banned 33 officials and players for life at the conclusion of a three-year investigation into corruption in the CSL, including former soccer chiefs Nan Yong and Xie Yalong, who are both serving a 10½-year jail sentence for taking bribes.
Twelve 12 clubs have been given financial or points penalties, Xinhua reported, including Tianjin Teda and Jilin Yanbian. The punishments came shortly after CFA chief Wei Di was removed after poor results for the national team, which saw them fail to qualify for the 2012 Olympics or reach the 2014 World Cup, after finishing third in a group topped by Iraq and Jordan.
There were hopes Drogba and Anelka’s arrival might revitalise the game in China, but Drogba has since moved to Galatasaray in Turkey, while Anelka has joined Juventus.