Cape Town - A referee who has taken charge of World Cup qualifiers is the latest high-profile figure to be accused of plagiarism in China, joining a slew of top Communist Party officials.
A former vice president and a supreme court judge were among a half-dozen officials who borrowed from other people's work without citing them for their university theses, a recent AFP review found.
Top Chinese football referee Fu Ming has now been dragged into the scandal, triggered by his controversial performance during a top-flight match which saw state media accuse him of "bias".
The 36-year-old's decisions on Saturday in the Chinese Super League game between Shandong Luneng and Henan Jianye were criticised by fans of both sides and threw him into the spotlight.
In the aftermath Fu, one of five professional referees in Chinese football, was accused on social media of plagiarising parts of an academic paper he wrote about the sport.
Nanhang Jincheng College said in a statement on Weibo, China's version of Twitter, that it was monitoring the claims against Fu, who has been an international referee since 2014.
It later deleted the post and Fu has not responded publicly to the accusations, which were a major theme of discussion on Weibo.
Fu was a sports teacher at the institution in Nanjing, near Shanghai, from 2005 to 2016.
Fu, who officiated Asian qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup and was at the Asian Cup earlier this year, was the subject of scathing criticism in state media on Tuesday.
The English-language version of the China Daily accused him of "favouritism" in Saturday's controversial 2-2 draw, "which tarnishes sportsmanship and the image of Chinese soccer".
"The case should prompt the Chinese Football Association to do more to uphold a good image of Chinese football," the newspaper said.
"It should investigate the decisions and disclose the results in a timely manner to quell the public's suspicions that there were some underhand dealings behind Fu's performance."