China chief tells Blatter clean-up will bear fruit

BEIJING - China's new football chief Wei Di has told FIFA President Sepp Blatter that efforts to clean up the game at home will bear fruit within a year.

Wei, who took over as head of the Chinese Football Association (CFA) when his predecessor Nan Yong was caught up in an anti-corruption crackdown, met Blatter in Zurich on Friday to discuss the country's match-fixing scandal. More than 20 CFA and club officials have been arrested.

"I told him that the CFA will strive to change the image of Chinese football and raise public trust in the CFA within a year," Wei told Chinese state media on Sunday.

"During the meeting, Blatter not only expressed his understanding, but also his positive support for the CFA's activity.

"FIFA firmly supports the CFA's handling of the ugly (match-fixing) phenomenon, and moreover is willing to work hard with the CFA to improve the image of Chinese football as soon as possible."

Soccer in China has suffered years of misery and violence on the pitch and corruption off it, culminating in a series of match-fixing scandals over the last five months that have left it reeling.

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