After having spent eight seasons playing in China, it appears that Gabriel Melkam’s time here has come to an unhappy end, as the Nigerian is involved in a spat with his former club, Qingdao Jonoon.
Melkam released a public statement (view the entire statement here) the other day stating that he went down to Guangzhou, where Qingdao is preparing for the new Chinese Super League season, to receive unpaid wages from the previous season. He waited to receive payment, but shortly before his departure for Germany, the club told him they wouldn’t pay him and stated they had proof that Melkam was involved in match fixing during Qingdao’s final match of the season, a 1-0 loss at Beijing Guoan that resulted in Qingdao being relegated.
Allegations against Melkam seem a little hard to believe considering he previously took a unique stance among active players by making a statement about perceived match fixing. To protest what he saw as referee match fixing in 2007, Melkam, then playing for Xiamen, revealed a t-shirt with the message on it “All referees of Chinese Super League were cheats”, something that got him suspended for multiple matches. The player is obviously very angry about these accusations and has stated that he will take the club before FIFA.
A high level official with Qingdao said he the club is taking care of the situation and was unsure about the allegations of match fixing. This is not the first time the relegated club has faced problems with foreign players this offseason, after previously having issues with Joel Griffiths over wages.