15 queried in volleyball match-fixing

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15 queried in volleyball match-fixing

Following the professional volleyball match-fixing scandal revealed on Feb. 8, prosecutors said on Sunday they are questioning 15 former and active volleyball players from six teams about their alleged role in throwing matches.

Daegu prosecutors stated that the six teams are Korean Air Jumbos Pro Volleyball Club, Kepco 45, Sangmu, Samsung Insurance Bluefangs, Hyundai Capital Sky Walkers and Heungkuk Life Pink Spiders, and that four are indicted for violating the national sports law.

Prosecutors revealed that there have been at least 15 cases of rigging in the V-League, with six cases in the 2009-10 season and eight cases in the 2010-11 season, four with Sangmu and four with Kepco 45.

Players received from the brokers on average between 3 to 5 million won ($2,670 to $4,452) for rigging each match and two of the players under investigation received over 10 million won.

Thirteen male volleyball players, current and retired, from three teams and two current female players are under suspicion for their alleged involvement in match-rigging attempts during games from 2009-11, according to the prosecutors.

Five gambling brokers and one financier are under investigation on charges of paying the players to deliberately make mistakes during games, prosecutors said.

Investigations into match-fixing in both men’s and women’s volleyball snowballed after three current and retired Suwon Kepco 45 players and a gambling broker surnamed Kang, 29, were arrested on Feb. 8 on suspicion of rigging volleyball games for financial gain.

The Korean Volleyball Federation banned the four players - three from Kepco 45 and one from Sangmu who confessed to prosecutors their role in rigging the games - from professionally engaging in the sport for life. Furthermore, the volleyball federation came down strongly on Sangmu, forcing the military team to forfeit its 10 remaining games for the season.

Meanwhile, the Korean Baseball Organization was also rocked when the Daegu District Prosecutors’ Office acknowledged last week that testimony was given by brokers who singled out two active Seoul LG Twins pitchers who allegedly participated in gambling schemes, though both prosecutors and the KBO stated evidence was weak. Prosecutors will question the two players from LG Twins and a player from Seoul Nexen Heroes, 21-year-old Mun Seong-hyeon.

By Hong Gweon-sam, Sarah Kim [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]
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