Dandong (China), Dec 20 (IANS) A Chinese football referee, standing trial at the Intermediate People's Court of Dandong in Liaoning Province, admitted here Tuesday to taking bribes of more than $256,000.
Huang Junjie, charged with taking bribes as non-state staff, used to be one of the best-known football referees in China. He had more than a 20-year-long career and was certified as an international level referee in 1998.
He was selected as one of the three nominees for the best referee of the year in 2009 although a series of controversial rulings were made by him during the season.
From 2005 to 2009, Huang accepted bribes 20 times from six Chinese clubs and he also took money to fix two international friendlies. He received a total of 1.48 million yuan and $100,000 (Hong Kong) in bribes, Xinhua reported.
Apart from taking bribes to officiate in favour of clubs, Huang also took money from his colleague Zhou Weixin and helped him with gambling.
During an exhibition match between English Premier League giants Manchester United and China's Shenzhen FC in Macao Stadium in 2007, Huang met Zhou's request to let Shenzhen FC win toss-up for the kick-off and received $100,000 (Hong Kong) as a reward afterwards.
In 2009, Huang helped Zhou win in gambling again during a friendly between China's Shanghai Shenhua and Australian side Sydney FC. And this time the reward was 100,000 yuan.
Huang was taken away by the police in March 2010, and Zhou was also arrested at the same time.
Huang and Zhou were both charged with taking bribes as non-state staff with Zhou facing an additional count of bribing civil servants.
Like Huang, Zhou was often caught with controversial rulings and sometimes even wrong decisions.
During a Chinese Super League match between Beijing Guoan and Shenyang Jinde on Oct 2, 2004, Zhou ruled a penalty kick in favour of Shenyang in the second half, which aroused furious protest from the players and coach of Beijing.
The Beijing team refused to continue the match and left the pitch, out of rage and Zhou ruled the the match ended with Beijing losing.
The Chinese Football Association (CFA) later slapped an eight-match ban on Zhou for his 'mis-judgment' in the match, although many suspected Zhou made the mistake on purpose.
Huang and Zhou are the first referees to face court following the police's two-year-long crackdown on football corruption in China.
Lu Jun, the best known Chinese football referee who once officiated in World Cup and Olympic Games, will stand trial Wednesday.