China warns again on sports corruption, lust for gold

Thu Apr 7, 2016 10:14pm EDT
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's sports establishment must learn the lessons from a corruption scandal involving a former deputy sports minister, continue to root out graft, and curb a win-at-all costs mentality, the country's top graft-buster said on Friday.

Corruption in international sport is in focus due to U.S. and Swiss probes into soccer's world governing body FIFA, as well as doping scandals that have rocked tennis and athletics.

China, which is aggressively seeking to stamp out graft in Communist Party and government ranks, has also sought to eject corrupt elements from its sports establishment, particularly within soccer, which has been hit by match-fixing scandals.

China was hit by two new sports graft scandals last year, with probes into deputy sports minister Xiao Tian, who sat on China's Olympics committee, and another into the country's then-volleyball chief.

In a statement released following a meeting on learning the lessons from Xiao's case, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said the sports sector needed to do more to tackle graft and not rest on its laurels.

"At the same time as fully affirming successes, we must clearly recognize the many challenges facing the development of our sports industry, and that the problems which exist should not be overlooked," the commission's team based in the sports ministry said.

"Put effort into resolving all the problems that come from putting the winning of gold above all else that distorts the spirit of sports," it said.

Chinese sports minister Liu Peng warned last year that China had to ditch its gold obsession if it really wanted to weed out corruption.

Chinese athletes bagged the most gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a feat accompanied by a wave of national pride, the culmination of China's "100 year dream" to host the world's most prestigious sports event.   Continued...

China's Minister of the General Administration of Sport Liu Peng addresses the media during a news conference after the briefing for International Olympic Committee (IOC) members by the 2022 Winter Olympic Games candidate city of Beijing at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, June 9, 2015. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy