Sports agent scandal taints Daegu FC manager

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Sports agent scandal taints Daegu FC manager

By Jang Chi-heyok, Jason Kim
Daegu FC is currently in search of a new manager.

Byun Byung-joo, 48, had recently agreed to a one-year contract extension but has had to resign from his post after being arrested on charges of receiving a large sum of money from an agent and, in return, selecting overseas player under the agent’s representation.

The Daegu District Public Prosecutors’ Office issued an arrest warrant for Byun on Monday. Byun resigned the same day.

Although a case in 2004 involved an assistant coach and officials of a sports team receiving money from an agent, this is the first such case involving a manager of a K-League club.

The agent, referred to only by his family name of Yoo, allegedly downgraded the amount on the contract given to clients and skimmed about $600,000 from them. Yoo was arrested last month.

The entire scheme unraveled when one client, who currently plays in the K-League, noticed the amount stated on his copy of the contract he signed last summer was lower than the second contract Yoo had submitted to the team. The player reported Yoo to the police and in the process of the investigation, Byun was found to have been involved in the scheme.

During questioning, Yoo revealed he paid Byun a total 19.8 million won ($17,000) plus $100,000 over the course of two years. According to information provided by the Daegu district prosecutors, Byun received 19.8 million won for taking a Brazilian player in February 2007, $30,000 for choosing an Argentine player in April of the same year and $70,000 for taking another Brazilian player last year. Byun is said to have confessed to receiving 19.8 million won but has denied having received $100,000.

A forward on the national team during his playing days, Byun scored 10 goals in 68 appearances for Korea between 1981-90. Byun started his managerial career in 1993 with a semiprofessional league and went on to coach at both high school and university levels prior to taking over the reins at Daegu FC in November 2006.

Byun’s club posted a less-than-impressive record of five wins, eight ties and 15 losses this past season. The team is currently searching for a replacement and plans on hiring a new manager by the end of the month.

“We’re open to reviewing all candidates including those from abroad. However, as a way of reflecting on the incident involving Byun, the integrity and character of the candidate will be accounted for in the evaluation process,” Daegu FC president Park Jong-sun said to Yonhap.

By Jang Chi-heyok, Jason Kim []

Byun Byung-joo
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