BEIJING: Chinese police have arrested up to 16 former players, along with club and league officials, in a widening probe into rampant match-fixing in the country's professional league.

The moves come amid increased scrutiny over the sorry state of the sport in China, including extraordinary statements of concern from officials as high-ranking as Vice-President Xi Jinping.

Word of the arrests announced by the Ministry of Public Security was a leading story in newspapers and websites on Thursday, with reports focusing on the lurid details of how money was exchanged to ensure the outcome of games. China is 97th in the FIFA world team rankings