Former China soccer head on trial accused of bribe-taking

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BEIJING (Reuters) -- The former chief of Chinese soccer stands on trial against bribe-taking charges on Tuesday, the latest chapter in a massive anti-graft drive aimed at cleaning up the corruption-blighted local game.

Xie Yalong, the former director of the Football Administrative Centre, is the highest-ranking official to face trial in an anti-graft campaign that was launched over two years ago.

Xie's case was heard on Tuesday morning at the court in the northeastern province of China where another top official, Yu Shaohui, is also on trial.

A verdict is expected later on Tuesday.

Other officials are to go on trial in the following days at two local courts.

Chinese soccer has been dogged by match-fixing scandals for years which, along with violence on and off the pitch, has turned fans off the domestic game.

A prominent former soccer boss and a referees director were handed long jail terms for bribery and match-fixing in February.

Four referees, including Lu Jun, a former World Cup match official once celebrated as China's "Golden Whistle", were handed jail terms of up to seven years on Thursday for match-fixing and corruption-related offences.