Gov’t vows tougher stance in response to match-fixing

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Gov’t vows tougher stance in response to match-fixing

The Korean government said it will apply stronger punishment to people caught being involved with match-fixing schemes in every sports league.

During a joint council meeting hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism at the press center in Jongno, central Seoul, ministries including the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as well as a dozen government agencies including the National Police Agency, Korea Communications Commission and Korean Olympic Committee discussed countermeasures against the poisonous illegal sports match-fixing schemes that are spreading into almost every sports league in the country.

The government said that it decided to organize the meeting as match-fixing has spread into the baseball league, the most popular sport in the country. The Korean prosecution said earlier this week that it will summon active baseball players who are suspected of match-fixing for interrogation this month.

“We sincerely apologize to the nation for failing to prevent such terrible scandals,” Minister Choi Kwang-sik of the Culture and Sports Ministry said at the beginning of the meeting.

During the meeting, government officials agreed with implementing stronger punishments. They decided to kick out every player, coach and official permanently from sports circles if they are found to be involved in the match-fixing schemes in the future.

The government said that players will be permanently prohibited from playing in any other sports leagues in Korea. Coaches will be disallowed to coach for either amateur or professional sports teams through revocation of their coaching licenses. The government said it will also hold teams accountable if they have any corrupt players, permanently kick them out of their leagues and cut off government subsidies.

The government also said that illegal sports gamblers and online sports betting Web site operators will face up to five years in prison or a 50 million won ($44,550) fine. It added that it will form special teams to monitor illegal Internet betting 24 hours a day in order to stamp out illegal betting.

In addition, the government will provide more preventive measures including ethical education regarding the match fixing for players, coaching staff and referees. It also decided to review adopting a minimum payroll system that guarantees at least 24 million won of annual income for players in order to prevent such involvement.

The government also said it will adopt a reward system, offering a minimum of 10 million won to people who report any match-fixing. It said that the reward can be increased up to 100 million won in accordance with the nature of the reports.

By Kwon Sang-soo []

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