S. Korean football coach takes over troubled Chinese club with ex-pupil held in bribery probe

Choi Kang-hee, former head coach of the South Korean men's national football team, is taking over a Chinese club in turmoil over match-fixing allegations.

Shandong Taishan FC of the Chinese Super League announced Tuesday that Choi will be their new bench boss, replacing Hao Wei, who is reportedly facing match-fixing charges.

Choi's hiring was announced hours after the Chinese foreign ministry confirmed that a South Korean citizen, whom the South Korean Embassy in Beijing had identified as Shandong player Son Jun-ho, is being held in Liaoning province over bribery charges.

The foreign ministry in Seoul said South Korea's local consulate is providing all necessary consular assistance to Son.

Choi coached Son at the South Korean club Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in 2018, when they won their second straight K League 1 championship.

Choi left South Korea after that year and took the reins at Tianjin Quanjian in the Chinese Super League. He later managed two other teams in the top Chinese league: Dalian Yifang and Shanghai Shenhua. Shandong will be Choi's fourth club in China.

With Hao away, assistant coach Fabio Lefundes, who once served on Choi's staff at Jeonbuk, had been the caretaker manager.

So far in the 2023 season, Shandong have won just one out of their first seven matches, registering four draws and two losses to rank ninth among 16 clubs. They were the runners-up to Wuhan Three Towns in 2022.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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