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Time for soccer to learn from past mistakes

Updated: 2013-02-20 07:51
By Tang Zhe ( China Daily)

The biggest match-fixing scandal in Chinese soccer came to its grim conclusion on Monday when the Chinese Football Association finally dished out its sanctions after a three-year investigation.

The public seems to be divided over whether the penalties were too strong or too lenient, and some clubs are preparing to appeal to the CFA.

The sport will now find out whether it can learn from the debacle and develop an effective system for healthy growth as it moves forward.

"The past can't be changed, but it is not too late to change for the future. What should we do to ensure a clean future for Chinese soccer?" CCTV commentator Liu Jianhong wrote on his micro blog.

"Apart from an explanation regarding the punishments, the CFA should also plan for the future. A league without long-term supervision cannot be properly organized."

Time for soccer to learn from past mistakes

With a solid background in law, China's new soccer head, Zhang Jian, is expected to lay down a better legal framework for the game during his tenure. Zhang graduated from Peking University Law School and worked in the policy and regulation department of the country's sports governing body before taking over Chinese soccer.

"No matter how harsh the punishment, it can only take effect over a gradual period of time," Xinhua commented.

"To ensure a clean environment in the long run requires a supervisory system that is effective and operational. The practitioners also need to improve their quality and self-awareness in the meantime to avoid more scandals."

The CFA might also be forced to examine whether a double standard was applied in this case. The punishments handed down on Monday were in stark contrast to those meted out to teams in Guangzhou and Chengdu after similar incidents of corruption in 2010. Both sides were relegated to the second-tier league.

The Guangzhou team was then bought by the Evergrande Real Estate Group and has since swept two Super League titles, while Chengdu continues to languish in the lower league.

West China City Daily, a Sichuan newspaper, questioned the CFA's rules because the punishments in 2010 were based on the same indiscretions as the recently concluded cases.

Apart from cleaning up the sport, Zhang is also expected to boost the national lineup and improve the country's reserve of young talent.

China's national teams have continually failed to reach major international tournaments, and the men's side slipped to 96th in FIFA's rankings. Great expectations hover over Zhang, who participated in the revision of the admission standards of the league in 2008 and visited Japan to research soccer in 2011.


(China Daily 02/20/2013 page24)

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