26 Apr 2012

China football boss claims torture in bribe case

10:05 am on 26 April 2012

The former head of China's football association has alleged he was tortured into confessing to bribe-taking as he and other officials face trial in a crackdown on graft in Chinese football.

According to state media Xie Yalong, ex-chief of the Chinese Football Association, went on trial in the northeast city of Dandong for allegedly receiving bribes, becoming the highest-ranking former soccer official to face justice.

But Xie told the court he was tortured with electric shocks, beaten, and doused with water while being interrogated during investigations.

Dozens of CFA and club officials, referees, and players have been ensnared for their roles in a match-fixing and gambling scandal exposed two years ago, which has rocked Chinese football by lifting the lid on deep-rooted corruption.

The revelations have combined with poor play by China's national squad to repel increasingly indifferent Chinese fans, threatening the future of the world's most popular game in the world's most populous country.

Xie's defence team moved to have any confessions made by the CFA's ex-boss thrown out as they were obtained illegally.

A court in February sentenced two top former CFA officials to more than a decade in jail each in the scandal.