Former Everton Player Li Tie Sentenced to Life in Prison in China for Corruption and Match-Fixing

Former Everton player Li Tie has reportedly been sentenced to life in prison in his native China for corruption and match-fixing. The 46-year-old, who played 33 matches for Everton during the 2002/03 season and seven games the following season after signing permanently, confessed to paying over £300,000 in bribes to secure a national team post.

Li Tie, a defensive midfielder, had a brief stint with Sheffield United but faced injury problems after breaking his leg on international duty in February 2004. He concluded his playing career in China and later served as the manager of the Chinese national team from 2019 to 2021.

The stunning revelation came a year after Li left his managerial post, with the Chinese public prosecutor issuing a statement accusing him of being ‘suspected of accepting and offering bribes.’ In his confession, Li admitted to influencing referees, bribing opposing players and coaches, and engaging in improper practices to achieve success.

Li Tie was considered one of the most talented Chinese players of his generation when he signed for Everton in August 2002. The loan deal, brokered by the now-defunct Chinese telecommunications company Keijan, proved successful as Li became a regular in Everton’s Premier League matches, contributing to their seventh-place finish.

The club decided to sign him permanently for £1.2 million in August 2003, with sponsorships covering two-thirds of the deal. However, Li’s career took a downturn when he broke his leg in February 2004 while playing for China, and he struggled to regain his place in the first team.

Released by Everton in 2006, Li Tie joined Sheffield United but played only once for the Blades due to persistent injury issues. He later moved to Chengdu Blades, affiliated with Sheffield United, in 2008 before returning to his hometown club Liaoning.

The news of Li Tie’s life sentence has sent shockwaves through the football community, raising concerns about the broader implications of corruption and match-fixing in the sport. The former player’s fall from grace highlights the challenges faced by authorities in combating such practices and maintaining the integrity of football.

the authorAV1 NEWS

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