KBO to rule on Heroes

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KBO to rule on Heroes

The KBO announced yesterday it will hold a board meeting with all eight club presidents Wednesday to discuss how to resolve the controversy surrounding the 3.6 billion won ($3.1 million) of overdue expansion fees the Seoul Heroes have yet to clear with the league.

The decision reached at the meeting will have a major impact on the Heroes and the stalled trade it attempted with the LG Twins.

On Dec. 18, the Heroes announced they would trade Lee Taek-geun to the Twins for two players and 2.5 billion won in cash. The league held an emergency meeting on Dec. 21 and announced the Heroes will have to clear a total of 3.6 billion won in outstanding expansion fees before making any trades. The Heroes agreed to pay a 12 billion won expansion fee over a two-year period in 2008.

Part of the expansion fee would presumably go to compensate the two teams already based in Seoul - the LG Twins and the Doosan Bears - for splitting their fan base. But instead of paying the 3.6 billion won to the league by the end of the month deadline, the Heroes paid the Twins and the Bears 1.5 billion won each directly.

When the Heroes traded their star outfielder Lee in exchange for two players and cash, the league stepped in. “The Heroes have yet to clear the expansion fees and therefore do not have the right to make trades at this point. Their priority is paying 3.6 billion won to the KBO,” said a KBO official.

The Twins and Bears have said that the expansion and compensation fees are separate and are refusing to return the money, though they did say they would be willing to donate some of it to the league.

Because the Heroes will not be able to raise another 3.6 billion won, the board will likely consider 3 billion won of the outstanding fee paid and decide on specific sums to request from LG and Doosan.

Complicating matters further, the SK Wyverns are also demanding a fee for the seven years the Heroes spent in Suwon, Gyeonggi, under the name Hyundai Unicorns. The Wyverns want 6.3 billion won for the years the Unicorns spent splitting thei
r fan base in the Seoul suburbs.

By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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