Li Tie pleads guilty to receiving $10m+ in bribes and fixing matches

April 2 – Li Tie, the former head coach of China’s national men’s team, has pleaded guilty to accepting more than $10 million in bribes.

His former boss, the discredited Chinese Football Association chairman Chen Xuyuan, was jailed for life last week for taking bribes worth $11 million.

Tie’s trial in central Hubei province took place last Thursday and the court said he had accepted more than 77 million yuan ($10.7 million) in bribes from 2017 to 2021.

He apparently provided assistance to relevant organisations and individuals in matters such as player selection for the national team, winning matches, and signing contracts with clubs

“Li Tie made his final statement, pleaded guilty and expressed remorse,” the court said, adding that a sentence would be announced at a later date.

Li, who was China coach from January 2020 until December 2021, played in the English Premier League for Everton 34 times between 2002 and 2004.

He featured in a documentary aired by state broadcaster CCTV in January about widespread corruption in Chinese football.

In the programme, Li said he had arranged nearly $421,000 in bribes to secure the head coach position, and helped to fix matches when he was a club coach in the Chinese Super League.

“I’m very sorry. I should have kept my head to the ground and followed the right path,” said Li. “There were certain things that at the time were common practices in football.”

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