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Former China football coach Li Tie charged with corruption

Former China football coach Li Tie has been charged with corruption offences, the country’s top public prosecutor said Wednesday, as the government cracks down on graft in the sport sector.

A string of Chinese football officials have fallen under investigation since November for “serious violations of the law”, including football association chief Chen Xuyuan. 

Wednesday’s announcement about Li, one of China’s most recognisable footballers, comes months after authorities said they had launched a legal investigation into the onetime Premier League star. 

Li “has been suspected of accepting and offering bribes… (including) both to and from non-state employees”, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate said in a statement.

A local procuratorate office in central China’s Hubei province has “filed a public prosecution (against Li) in accordance with the law”, the statement said.

The 46-year-old played for Premier League side Everton between 2002 and 2006, and made more than 90 appearances for his country.

He took charge as the national team’s head coach in 2020 but stepped down during a failed qualifying campaign for last year’s World Cup in Qatar.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is a self-proclaimed football fan who has said he hopes to see his country host and even win the World Cup one day.

But his signature anti-graft drive has swept through the national game in recent months, battering an industry already struggling under financial woes and the lingering impact of Beijing’s now-abandoned zero-Covid policy.

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