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Nike China marketing director detained in connection to soccer scandal

Oriental Guardian, September 16, 2010

China's ongoing anti-corruption campaign has led to a series of arrests of sports officials, including Xie Yalong, the former vice president of the Chinese Football Association who was taken away by police on September 6th. The stakes were raised again yesterday when the media broke the story that Nike China's marketing director Li Tong, a former ace huddler and US green card holder, had been taken into police custody in Shenyang for questioning.

The newspaper speculated that the Li's detention has to do with a ten-year Chinese Super League sponsorship contract for which Nike paid US$200 million. By comparison, CSL's former sponsor, Adidas, disbursed US$500 million for a six-year tenure. The low price has given rise to speculations of bribery and corruption.

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There are currently 4 Comments for Nike China marketing director detained in connection to soccer scandal.

Comments on Nike China marketing director detained in connection to soccer scandal

Isn't the low price they paid a reflection on how crappy Chinese football and the league are in general? It's a given there were backhanders, but why would anybody pay more for sponsorship when being associated with the league really just indicates you are part of the whole corruption culture in China.

Earlier piece by Joel Martison on the soccer scandal here.

I work at CFA and have been watching the scandal unfold since February of this year. The number of people arrested and/or detained for questioning is now over 2,000! Xie Yalong (an immensely unpopular figure at CFA) was first detained in February but released soon after. No one at CFA is surprised (or sorry) to hear that he has now been formally arrested. People at CFA have long felt that Chinese soccer (not just the national team) was an embarrassment, but they now wonder whether anything at all can be done to fix things. Most believe that the problem is cultural/societal - that is, eliminating corruption from Chinese soccer requires eliminating corruption from Chinese culture/society - no mean feat.

Apparently, CFA's bid to host the 2012 International Futsal (5 players per side) World Cup in Hangzhou/Zhejiang failed in large part because FIFA, football's international governing body, was concerned about corruption in Chinese soccer. Thailand won instead.

Thanks, Ma Bole. Your comments on football-related posts have been very informative. The amount of attention devoted to the situation reminds me of political campaigns/scandals.

Recent reports in the Chinese and foreign media indicate that Li Tong has been released. Here's the report from Titan Sports Net (in Chinese): link

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