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Sheff Utd's Chinese connection under allegations of match fixing

Allegations of match-fixing have resulted in the arrest of top officials from the Chinese football team owned by Sheffield United, reports the Sheffield Star. Chendgu Blades' president Xu Hongtao and his deputy You Kewei are accused of paying a bribe to the manager of rival club Qingdao to throw a match against them.

Qingdao's manager Liu Hongwei has also been arrested.

The Chengdu officials are alleged to have given Liu bribes to throw the Chinese second division match in September 2007. He was allegedly paid £27,000 in cash, and a fake invoice for £18,000 for one month's rental of Chengdu's training base.

Qingdao allegedly fielded a second-string team in the match and made substitutions in the second half to weaken the team further. Chengdu won 2-0. The result helped Chengdu gain promotion to the country's top league, the Jia A.

Details of the case have been revealed through the Chinese state media.

"You, Xu and Liu, who manipulated the match result using commercial bribery, have violated the criminal law," a policeman in the task force investigating corruption in Chinese soccer was quoted as saying.

Sheffield United bought Chengdu in 2006 and the team finished seventh in the Chinese top division last season.

A spokesman for Sheffield United said the club did not wish to comment on the arrests at present.

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