Former Everton player sentenced to life in prison for his role in match-fixing

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According to reports, former Everton player Li Tie was found guilty of corruption and given a life sentence in his home country of China.

During the 2002–03 season, Li played 33 games for Everton while on loan from Chinese club Liaoning. After obtaining a permanent contract, he played seven games the following season.

The defensive midfielder, who broke his leg while playing for his country in February 2004, had a spell at Sheffield United before suffering from injuries.

Li, 46, managed China’s national team from 2019 to 2021 after concluding his career there.

Amidst a massive crackdown on corruption in football, the Chinese public prosecutor made a shocking revelation a year after Li resigned from that position, stating that he was ‘suspected of collecting and giving bribes’.

Li made a live confession on official broadcaster CCTV, admitting that he paid bribes totaling 3 million yuan (£330,000) in exchange for his position as national team coach.

In addition, he said that he had participated in a match-fixing scam in order to advance with his club teams.

Li said: ‘I’m very sorry. I should have kept my head to the ground and followed the right path. There were certain things that at the time were common practices in football.’

According to writer and reporter Mark Dreyer, who is located in China, Li received a life sentence for his involvement in the affair.

According to Dreyer, Chen Xuyuan, the former chairman of the Chinese Football Association, received a 15-year term for bribery.

Li acknowledged having successfully rigged games while serving as Wuhan Zall and Hebei China Fortune’s coach. The former were promoted as winners from China League One in 2018.

He added in his televised statement: ‘By gaining ‘success’ through such improper means, it actually made me more and more impatient and eager for quick results.

‘In order to achieve good performance, I resorted to influencing referees, bribing opposing players and coaches, sometimes through clubs dealing with other clubs.

‘This behaviour becomes a habit, and eventually, there is even a slight dependence on these practices.’

Li joined Everton in August 2002 and was considered one of the best Chinese footballers of his time.

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