K-League ups base salary after match-fixing stainThe top local professional football league said Monday it will improve the welfare of its players and hand out severe punishments for corruption in response to a recent match-fixing scandal.
As part of restructuring measures, the K-League said it will raise players’ minimum salary and that clubs whose players are involved in match rigging will suffer tough penalties.
Public and military prosecutors have indicted 46 active or former K-League players for their ties to match- fixing. They allegedly received cash from gambling brokers in exchange for making mistakes on purpose and helping to rig results in games last year and this year.
The K-League and the Korea Football Association (KFA), the national governing body of the sport, have banned 10 of the players for life from all football-related activities. This was the first match-fixing scandal to batter the K-League in its 28-year history.
“We will introduce a pension plan for players and strive to improve rights and welfare for players,” the league said in a statement. “The minimum wage will be doubled from the current 12 million won ($11,350) to 24 million won starting next year.”
The indicted players included some high-profile names, but most of them were little-known, middling players with low salaries. Investigators have said these players might have been more tempted to take a lump sum of cash from brokers to engage in match-fixing schemes. Some players allegedly took or were offered more money than their annual salary.
The league said it will continue to work with related agencies to establish cooperative relations with FIFA and Interpol. To prevent further match fixing, the K-League will also adopt a polygraph testing system, currently in use in the Singaporean league, on those suspected of match fixing.
Among other changes, the league will introduce a promotion-relegation system starting in 2013.
The 16-team K-League had previously tried to introduce the system but the champions of the second-tier competition, the National League, had balked at the promotion in 2006 and 2007 for financial reasons.