China has confirmed its detention of a South Korean footballer in relation to a bribery case.
Son Jun-ho, who plays in the Chinese Super League, is in police custody in the north-eastern Liaoning province, China’s foreign ministry said.
The 31-year-old detained at a Shanghai airport on Friday, according to South Korean media.
Reports of Mr Son’s detention come amid a concerted crackdown on corruption and match-fixing in Chinese football.
Diplomats from South Korea will meet with Mr Son “to figure out exactly what kind of charges”. He has detained for, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing sources.
The country’s foreign ministry said its mission in China provided consular support to Mr Son but declined further comment.
China has arrested at least four football officials for alleged wrongdoing in the past three months.
Mr Son moved to China’s Shandong province in 2021 where he played as a midfielder for Shandong Taishan.
That year, the club won the Chinese Football League – the highest tier of professional football in China. His current teammates include former Manchester United and Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini.
He has also played 20 international matches for his home country, including in the Fifa World Cup last year.
A Korea Football Association official said it had sought an explanation from Shandong Taishan, but has not heard back from the club.
Chinese football has long engulfed in allegations of bribery and match-fixing. Recent detentions of major football figures have dealt another setback to the country’s football ambitions.
In February, authorities detained Chen Xuyuan, the president of the Chinese Football Association, for suspected serious violations of discipline and the law. This occurred just as stadiums were starting to reopen after Covid lockdowns.
Mr Chen’s arrest was the fourth known example of a senior football official to investigated in less than three months.
Last November, former national coach Li Tie, who was one of China’s most high-profile footballers, also came under investigation for “serious violations of the law”.
Match fixing has also sparked controversy in South Korean football recently. Last month, the entire executive board of Korea’s Football Association resigned after attempting to pardon some 100 people who had banned from the sport due to match-fixing and other offences.