BEIJING: Li Tie, the 46-year-old former national coach of China, has been reportedly sentenced to life in jail for corruption.

China-based journalist Mark Dreyer, citing local information, has reported that the former Everton player confessed on state television CCTV to having fixed matches as well as having paid €380,000 for his national team appointment.

A former president of the Chinese Football Federation, Chen Xuyuan, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Li, who played 33 games for Everton in the 2002-03 season on loan from the club. Chinese Liaoning, after which he signed for the Toffees until 2006, playing just 7 more games. After another year and a half at Sheffield Wednesdey, between July 2006 and January 2008, he returned to China.

As coach of Hebei China Fortune and Wuhan Zall he fixed matches and won promotion from China League One as champions in 2018.

Li Tie retired in 2012 and ended up assisting Marcello Lippi with the national team. After the Italian’s resignation he was named the new coach. In November 2022 it was announced that Li was under investigation for “serious violation of laws” by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and China’s national anti-corruption agency.  

He said: “I’m very sorry. I should have lowered my head and followed the right path. There were certain things that were common practices in football at that time.

“Gaining ‘success’ in such an inappropriate way made me more and more impatient and eager for quick results.

“To achieve good performances I influenced referees, bribed rival players and coaches, sometimes through agreements between some clubs and others. This behaviour becomes a habit and eventually addiction.”