KBL coaches apologize for scandal
“We think this is the fault of all of us, who as public figures involved with the KBL [Korean Basketball League] have not fulfilled our social duties and responsibilities,” said Seoul Samsung Thunders coach Kim Dong-kwang, reading out a statement written under the names of the 10 KBL coaches at the Korean Basketball League headquarters. The other nine coaches, including acting Promy coach Kim Young-man, were with him.
“We have deep regrets and feel strongly responsible,” Kim said.
Kang, 46, is suspected of intentionally losing four Dongbu games during the 2010-2011 season in February and March 2011 in return for 47 million won ($42,190) that he received from two bookies. The former star guard was arrested early this month.
It was the first time for the KBL to undergo a prosecution investigation into match-fixing, but rumors have long circulated that mid-level KBL teams try to lose toward the end of the regular season so they can get access to better rookies.
The four bottom teams, which don’t make it to the playoffs, used to get the first draft picks in the next season. After the Kang scandal exploded, Han Sun-kyo, the KBL commissioner, pledged that the league will revise those rules to help prevent game-fixing.
But some criticize the league for its culture of tolerance around match-fixing, saying that coaches and players are constantly tempted to throw matches for personal financial benefit.
SBS reported on Monday, citing a bookie involved in illegal sports betting, that there were other match-fixing attempts this season, all involving the Promy.
“We will earnestly implement the duties and responsibilities required of us by managing games in a fair and clean manner and wholeheartedly playing every single game,” Kim read from the statement.
The coaches also said in the statement that they will try to turn the crisis into an opportunity to take Korean basketball to the next level.
Meanwhile, the KBL will kick off its postseason tomorrow, after the regular season wrapped up its run on Tuesday.
The four bottom of the six playoff teams will play each other in the first round, with the two winners to face off against the regular season winner, the Seoul SK Knights, and the regular league runner-up Ulsan Mobis Phoebus in the second round.
The Knights will face off against the winner of the Jeonju KGC Egis and the Goyang Orions while the Phoebus will meet the winner of the Incheon ET-Land Elephants and the Seoul Samsung Thunders.
The first and second round are best-of-five series. The best-of-seven final will be held between April 13-23.
By Moon Gwang-lip [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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