In China, nine soccer referees received prison sentences of up to seven years for bribery, top ref Lu Jun, who was twice voted the best referee in Asia, being among them. The pinnacle of his career was reached during the World Cup in Japan and South Korea in 2002.
In December, China began a large-scale crackdown against bribery and match fixing in football.
A total of sixty players, coaches, administrators and referees sat in the dock, among others suspected of taking bribes and influencing events. This happened in both the Chinese league and friendly matches.
The Chinese government began an extensive campaign against corruption in football in 2009. Through years of scandals, football in China has received such a poor image that many football fans have become supporters of European clubs. The cleanup operation comes just before the start of the Chinese football league which begins on 10th March.