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Ex-Everton and Sheffield United player confesses on TV to match-fixing and bribing officials

Ex-Everton and Sheffield United player Li Tie confesses on TV to match-fixing and bribing officials until he got a top coaching job.

After being placed under investigation back in November 2023, his confession was aired in a state-backed documentary which revealed “all-round” corruption in the sport.

Li made who made 40 appearances for the Toffees in all competitions between 2002 and 2006 before signing for Sheffield United but struggled for game time, so went back to his homeland.

He was probed by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection relating to match fixing whilst he was managing Hebei China Fortune and Wuhan Zall between 2015 and 2020.

And then earlier this week, Li appeared in a state-backed documentary in China, admitting to match fixing, as Chinese President Xi Jinping’s administration said they were cracking down on bribe taking.

The ex-Premier League player paid for brides which allowed him to get the job as head coach of the Chinese national team between October 2019 and December 2021.

He admits to arranging nearly $421,000 (£330,954) in bribes, so that he could take up the position of head coach, while also taking part in fixing matches in his tenure as a club coach of Wuhan Zall.

Li successfully rigged a match at Hebei China Fortune, where he managed between August 2015 and August 2016, then continued to promote match-fixing after becoming the manager of Wuhan Zall Football Club in November 2017.

Li said to China Central Television (CCTV): “I’m very sorry. I should have kept my head to the ground and followed the right path. There were certain things that at the time were common practices in football.

“By gaining ‘success’ through such improper means, it actually made me more and more impatient and eager for quick results.

“In order to achieve good performance, I resorted to influencing referees, bribing opposing players and coaches, sometimes through clubs dealing with other clubs. This behaviour becomes a habit, and eventually, there is even a slight dependence on these practices.”

He says he achieved one of his “biggest dreams”, but it turns out there’s more to the story, asking Wuhan Zall Football Club – where he had been a coach – to intervene on his behalf with the Chinese FA with a promise to return the favour.

Lie, 48, rigged matches at Hebei China Fortune and continued to promote match-fixing when he became the head coach of Wuhan Zall Football Club in 2017.


Chinese media had previously said that Li was cooperating with the inquiry after his arrest before he was reportedly transferred to a detention centre.

Li won 8 of the 9 matches in his debut season managing Hebei China Fortune, helping them get promoted to the Chinese Super League, before he also guided Whuan Zall FC to promotion in 2018.

However, Luo Chuan, from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in China, said in the documentary that both promotions were down to bribery and match-fixing.

Hebei’s then-president Meng Jing says in the documentary that for the last match of the 2015 season alone, Hebei China Fortune spent 14 million yuan – over £1.5million at current exchange rates – bribing the players and managers of Shenzhen FC.

It’s also found that a two million yuan payment to the Chinese Football Association president got Ti Li the job of China’s head coach, signing a 60 million yuan deal with Wuhan Zall in exchange for selecting four players for international appearances who, it was claimed, weren’t good enough to play for the national squad.

This is how fans reacted as the ex-Everton and Sheffield United player confesses on TV to match-fixing and bribing officials…

@Ecclesbean: Another 10 points deduction incoming

@SpiderLewin: So that’s why we didn’t win the league with him in midfield….. makes sense now

@Kopblock_204: Corruption & cheating. Once Everton has touched you.


@AntMill5: Remember we got him and Li Wiefeng as part of our shirt sponsorship deal.. could do with striking up another deal to bring in more players 😆

@thumpermaxie: Why am I not surprised.

@LukeHolden2426: Another blue at it 😂

Everton aren’t we

@Dewb1878: Somehow end in us getting points deducted

@bignorm1992: So he fixed li Tie

@giantluis_efc: He was a fall guy to take the blame for the corruption scandal.🫠

@CiaranBloo: Take the 5 consecutive 1-0 wins out the trophy cabinet

@Nedproper: And he seemed such a nice lad!🤣🤦‍♂️

@BillEvram: crying at perhaps our most milquetoast joke ‘legend’ being some type of corrupt Tom Wambsgans-esque genius

@LiamT1878: Hahahaa fucking Everton that

@SoundDave1981: Lie Tie

@Scousepirlo3: He went to Everton as part of a sponsorship deal, he was always gonna be corrupt as fuck 🤣🤣🤣

@JPMRGXN: “Li Tie curry chips n bribes” 🎶

@mcs275: That’s probably the end of him.

@danholling: Most corrupt sport in the world. It will all come out. Won’t be tomorrow. But one day.

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