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'Should Have Followed Right Path': Former China Coach Li Tie Pleads Guilty to Accepting Over 10 Million USD in Bribes – News18

Former China football coach and ex-Everton midfielder Li Tie pleaded guilty on Thursday to accepting over $10 million in bribes, a court said, part of a broader crackdown on corruption in Chinese football.

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

Chinaโ€™s legal system is tightly controlled by the ruling Communist Party and courts have a near-100 percent conviction rate in criminal cases.

Local journalists gathered in front of the court in central Hubei province where 46-year-old Liโ€™s case was heard.

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Li, who was China coach from January 2020 until December 2021, is accused of giving and taking bribes, as well as participating in match fixing, the Hubei court said in a statement Thursday.

Li accepted more than 77 million yuan ($10.7 million) in bribes from 2017 to 2021, including during his time working as a coach for the Wuhan Zall club, the court said.

โ€œLi Tie made his final statement, pleaded guilty and expressed remorse,โ€ the court said, adding that a sentence would be announced at a later date.

Li, who played in the Premier League 34 times between 2002 and 2004, featured in a documentary aired by state broadcaster CCTV in January about widespread corruption in Chinese football.

CCTV regularly airs confessions by criminal suspects before they have appeared in court, a practice widely condemned by rights groups.

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.

โ€œIโ€™m very sorry. I should have kept my head to the ground and followed the right path,โ€ said Li.

โ€œThere were certain things that at the time were common practices in football.โ€

Li played nearly 100 games for China.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – AFP)

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