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South Korea match-fixing scandal sees 41 players barred

posted 10 Jan 2013, 05:46 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 10 Jan 2013, 05:47 ]

Forty-one South Korean players have been handed worldwide lifetime bans following a match-fixing scandal in the K-League.

SEOULSOUTH KOREA (JANUARY 10, 2013) (REUTERS) -  Forty-one players from South Korea's K-League have had their lifetime bans extended worldwide following a match-fixing scandal, although 21 of them have been offered a reprieve, FIFA announced on Wednesday (January 9).

The 41 had already been banned for life by the Korea Football Association following the scandal which erupted in 2011 and involved matches played the previous year. The scandal led the South Korean government to threaten to wind up the K-League if action was not taken.

Ten other players involved in match-fixing were given worldwide bans by FIFA in June while in March, South Korea's volleyball association banned 11 players for life in a bid to curb corruption in domestic sport.

FIFA said that a reprieve had been offered to 21 players who turned themselves in during the voluntary reporting period and expressed "grave regret" about their involvement in match-fixing.

The players would have to undergo a probation period of between two and five years, including periods of community service ranging from 200 to 500 hours.

On Thursday (January 10) the Korea Football Association (KFA) said it backed FIFA's move.

"We support the FIFA's decision to extend the sanctions worldwide. We will finish harder any match-fixing from now on," Kim Kae-un, Assistant Manager at PR & Marketing team of Korea Professional Football League, told Reuters.

Match-fixing is regarded as one of the biggest problems facing football with recent scandals also hitting Italian and Turkish domestic soccer as well as the national teams of GuatemalaNicaragua and South Africa.

FIFA say that match-fixing is usually organised by illegal gambling rings who win money by betting on the results of matches they are manipulating with the help of players, officials or referees.