Match-fixing admission hits Korean football

South Korean agencies report that Suwon Bluewings player says he attended meeting between K-League players and gamblers.

    Choi, right, in action against Sydney FC in the Asian Champions League in March [GALLO/GETTY]

    Korean international Choi Sung-kuk has become the latest player to confess to involvement in the country's growing match-fixing scandal.

    The Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday that the Suwon Bluewings player admitted his association with the worst scandal to hit the country's professional league since it was established in 1983, and Korean prosecutors were now looking into the case.

    Choi's admission came days after a goalkeeper with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors acknowledged his involvement in the scandal.

    South Korean media identified the player as Yeom Dong-gyun, who had played for South Korea's under-23 team and had been a back-up for the full national side.

    The report quoted a K-League official as saying that Choi, part of Korea's 2004 Olympic and 2007 Asian Cup teams, was lured into attempts to throw matches by another player, who is among the 11 already indicted in the scandal.

    Choi said he was invited a year ago to a meeting where gambling brokers and players were plotting to fix two K-League games.

    He said he had no idea what was going to be discussed before he showed up, Bluewings official Choi Won-chang said.

    He added that plotters asked for Choi's help, but Choi didn't tell them whether he would take part in the plan.

    Military club

    Choi was playing for military club Sangju Sangmu at the time, and only played one half across the two matches in question.

    He had denied any wrongdoing in a press conference last month.

    "If I had done anything wrong, I would've been summoned to the prosecution, and not here talking with you," he said.

    League authorities have banned 10 players for life – eight from the Daejeon Citizen team alone.

    A player was found dead in a hotel room last month and media reports claimed a suicide note was found with reference to a match-fixing ring.
    Three members of the top-flight military side Sangmu Phoenix have been questioned on suspicion of match-fixing.

    Players have until the end of this month to confess to their role and expect a lenient punishment.

    The state-run sports bookmaker has stopped taking bets on games, while the government has threatened to stop funding any sports leagues found to be corrupt in any way.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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