Match-fixing: Drogba's ex-club stripped of title

Chinese authorities throw the book at Shanghai Shenhua following three-year investigation into corruption scandal which also sees 37 people banned for life
Shanghai Shenhua have been stripped of their 2003 league title by the Chinese Football Association (CFA) after being found guilty of match-fixing.

The club, who lost star players Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka in the transfer window, also received a fine of €120,000 and a six-point deduction from their upcoming Chinese Super League (CSL) campaigns.

Another Chinese club, Tianjin Teda, were hit with the same punishment following a three-year investigation by the CFA's disciplinary commission. Ten other clubs were also disciplined.

Shenhua were found guilty of fixing a game against Shanxi Guoli en route to winning the 2003 league title.

In addition, the CFA has issued life bans from football to 33 people, including former China internationals Shen Si, Qi Hong, Jiang Jin and Li Ming, ex-CFA heads Nan Yong and Xie Yalong, as well as referee Lu Jun, who officiated in the 2002 World Cup and 2001 Confederations Cup.

"These violations of CFA regulations include match-fixing, bribing giving and taking, and gambling," a spokesman for the CFA discipline commission said on Monday. He blamed the offences on a "lack of legal criteria, imperfect soccer system and lax supervision and management".

"Some violations dated back to over 10 years ago."

Match-fixing in football has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks following an Europol announcement that nearly 400 matches played in 15 countries may have been rigged.