South Korea K-League bans 10 players for match-fixing

Posted on by SoccerPunter

South Korea‘s professional football league on Friday imposed a lifetime ban on 10 players who have been charged with match-fixing schemes, the toughest penalty in its 28-year history.

“We made the decision, determined that this would be the first and the last match-fixing scandal in the league,” Kwak Young-Cheol, head of the K-League‘s disciplinary committee, told journalists.

“Players must keep in mind that they will be kicked out of the sport permanently if they get caught committing wrongdoing,” he said.

The league imposed a life ban on 10 out of 11 players who have been charged by state prosecutors, with the 11th receiving a five-year ban.

The players allegedly accepted money from fixers in exchange for helping their teams to lose games. Eight of them are from the same club, Daejeon Citizen.

Kwak said that if any of the players were cleared of wrongdoing in future court trials, their bans would be reviewed.

The league imposed separate penalties on the players’ teams.

Daejeon Citizen will lose 30 per cent of its annual share from the sales of Sports Toto, the nation’s only licensed sports lottery. The loss amounts to about 270 million won (US$245,000) for the team.

Professional teams regularly receive portions of the sales of the lottery.

Gwangju FC and Sangju Sangmu Phoenix, which each have one player banned, will each lose 10 percent of their lottery share.

No team officials or coaches have been punished as the players acted on their own, Kwak said. But the K-League will amend its regulations so that teams will be held more accountable for their lack of oversight, he added.

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