Chung calls for action to root out corruption in soccer
Chung Mong-gyu, the head of the country’s top division football league, has announced that he will take all measures necessary to root out match-fixing attempts.
Chung, president of the K-league, made a public apology on Monday, admitting that the league is facing the “worst crisis” in its history.
His comment came in the wake of allegations that at least 10 K-league players were involved in a match-rigging scandal.
The Changwon District Prosecutors raised concerns last week that the highest level of professional sport is a hub for match-fixing. So far, three players have been arrested and two other players taken into custody on charges of receiving bribe money to help fix the league cup games in April.
At a news conference, Chung said,“I understand how serious this matter is. We are going to take serious action.”
K-League president Chung Mong-gyu speaks during a press conference in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap News)
If the allegations are proven to be true, the players could be banned from playing in the league for life, said the head of K-league.
The governing body has already asked authorities to take its games off from Sports Toto, the country’s licensed sports lottery, to prevent match-fixing.
Chung, who took the helm of the top professional league in January, noted that he was looking into launching a watchdog initiative under the governing body.
He also called on players, coaching staff and officials from all the 16 teams to attend a two-day workshop on Tuesday on match-fixing attempts.
However, when asked whether he would suspend the league games, the president said: “No, matches should be continued in any case.”
On Sunday, the Changwon District Prosecutors arrested three players from the Daejeon Citizen for alleged involvement in a match-fixing scandal.
The three suspects are believed to have received bribe money to help fix the result of the league cup game against Pohang Steelers in April, which Daejeon lost 3-0.
Two other players, a midfielder from Daejeon and the other Gwangju FC goalkeeper, are already in custody in the probe that began earlier this month.
The goalie is suspected of receiving 100 million won, while the midfielder is suspected of receiving 1.2 million won from two gambling brokers, who allegedly made large sums of money by betting on the game through lotteries operated by Sports Toto. The two brokers, one of whom is identified as a former player, were arrested last week. The investigators also questioned Kim Dong-hyun, a former national team player, for alleged involvement with the brokers.
Although there have been a few small pre-arranged incidents in other divisions, it is the first time that such a scandal has come to light in the country’s professional league.
“If we cannot root out match-fixing this time, it will happen again soon. I think this is our opportunity to reform the K-league,” Chung said.
By Oh Kyu-wook (email@example.com