Chinese footballer sentenced to seven months


Singapore : An S-League footballer was sentenced to seven months in jail for match fixing in the harshest sentence ever imposed in Singapore on a foreign footballer for throwing a game, news reports said Friday.

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Zhao Zhipeng, 26, has appealed against Thursday’s sentence.

The centre-forward with the Liaoning Guangyuan squad was implicated in a scandal with six teammates, all Chinese nationals, the most players suspected in a single conspiracy in Singapore’s football history.

He is the only defendant to plead guilty so far in hopes that District Judge Toh Yung Cheong would levy a fine and allow Zhao to go to Dalian in China for his wedding Saturday, The Straits Times said.

His request to be allowed to leave Singapore pending his appeal was rejected.

The S-League has developed a large following and international interest.

“There are foreign players, foreign teams and even overseas websites for betting on S-League games,” Toh was quoted as saying.

In its 12th year, the S-League has three foreign clubs. Liaoning entered the league in March 2007, finishing 10th among the 12 clubs.

The court heard that general manager Wang Xin bribed players including Zhao to lose games by a certain score line.

Prosecutors said that Wang Xin contacted a friend in Dalian to bet on the games on a website.

Wang Xin did not appear on January 16 in court to answer corruption charges and is believed to have fled to China.