Former KBL-star wrapped up in match-fixing caseThe Korean Basketball League (KBL), the third-largest professional sports league along with football and baseball, is embroiled in a scandal as one of the league’s active managers has been accused of fixing a regular season game.
The Uijeongbu District Prosecutors’ Office said yesterday they will summon Kang Dong-hee, 46, manager of the Wonju Dongbu Promy basketball team as early as this week.
He is currently suspected of receiving about 30 million won ($27,600) from a man surnamed Choi, a former sports agency official, for influencing the flow of a regular season game that was held between January and February 2011 by making substitutions when the game was in the crucial moment. The prosecution didn’t state which game Kang is suspected of fixing.
Choi was arrested by prosecutors on Feb. 28.
Kang is the first KBL manager to be investigated by the prosecution for match-fixing in the league’s history.
According to prosecutors, Choi has testified that after he gave the money to Kang, he had purchased Sports Toto tickets.
Sports Toto is the only licensed betting service in Korea, and people can make bets on the outcome of a sporting event.
“We are making arrangements to question him,” a spokesman of the prosecution said. “We need to investigate more to find out whether Kang was actually involved in the match-fixing. We judge that no players were involved in the fixed game in 2011.”
Kang currently denies the allegations. “I want to ask people to trust me,” Kang said in a phone interview with the JoongAng Ilbo.
“I will take my punishment, if I received the money. I haven’t been informed about the investigation from the prosecution yet. I will work with my normal schedule because I’m clean and I don’t have to hide from this.”
After the media reported that Kang will be summoned by prosecutors, fans and officials, as well as players and managers of the KBL, were shocked. Kang has had a successful career in basketball.
Kang dominated the league as one of the best point guards in the country since his college period back in 1990s. He was selected as MVP in the 1997-98 season when he played for Kia Motors and also was selected as a member of the “Best 5” five times between 1997 and 2004.
After retiring from the Changwon LG Sakers in 2005, he was named as Wonju Dongbu Promy manager in 2009 and was named as the manager of the year for the 2011-12 season.
By Jeon Ick-jin, Kwon Sang-soo [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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