News 4th August 2015

China launches corruption investigation against top volleyball official

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the ruling Communist Party of China is investigating Pan Zhichen, the head of China’s national volleyball program, reports Reuters. According to the news agency, the corruption commission said in a statement on Tuesday that Pan had been placed under investigation for ‘suspected serious breaches of discipline and law.’

No further details have been provided, although the South China Morning Post said that ‘such investigations routinely lead to trials and convictions.’ The Sports Integrity Initiative were unable to get a response from China’s General Administration of Sport and the China Volleyball Association (CVA) refused to comment on the alleged investigation.

The reports come just a month after it was reported that Xiao Tian, the Deputy Head of China’s General Administration for Sport, was under investigation for serious breaches of discipline and the law. In July, it was subsequently reported that the Chinese government had fired Tan. Since taking office at the end of 2012, China’s President, Xi Jinping has been pursuing a broad anti-corruption campaign which has spanned the government, party, military and state industry.

Pan Zhichen was the chief official in charge of China’s volleyball and beach volleyball programmes; he was widely credited with convincing former star player and United States coach Jenny Lang Ping to lead the Chinese women’s program again at the end of last year.

UPDATE: After contacting the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), they released the following statement to the Sports Integrity Initiative:

“The FIVB has been made aware of Mr Pan Zhichen’s arrest. While it has been confirmed that the issue is unrelated to his work at the Chinese Volleyball Association, the FIVB is 100 per cent committed to upholding integrity and transparency throughout the volleyball family and therefore takes this matter very seriously. However no further comment will be made until greater clarification on the situation has been received from both the Chinese Volleyball Association and Mr Pan Zhichen himself.”

The Sports Integrity Initiative also spoke to the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) who said, “AVC has acknowledged and closely looked [sic] this report.  The clear accusation has not been disclosed.  However, this case is the internal matter happened in China, no relation with  AVC.  AVC has no right to involve in the matters that are not related to Asian volleyball.”


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