Football governing body rejects proposal to reduce match-fixing penalties on players
SEOUL, Aug. 19 (Yonhap) -- The nation's governing body of football on Monday rejected an earlier proposal to reduce penalties on players implicated in a wide match-fixing scandal.
At its board meeting, the Korea Football Association (KFA) turned away a proposal made by the K League, which oversees the country's professional football leagues, to downgrade penalties on 27 players in connection with match fixing in 2011.
On July 11, the K League offered to cut the length of probation for 18 players, including a former national team forward Choi Sung-kuk, and to lift lifetime bans on five other players and order them to complete community service. Also, the K League proposed to reduce lifetime bans on four more players to two-year suspensions after they were acquitted of match-fixing charges in court.
After meeting for two hours, the KFA board overruled the K League.
"We based our decision on the view that there is no ground to discuss the reduction of these penalties," said Kwak Young-cheol, the head of the KFA's disciplinary committee. "The basic policy at the KFA is that match fixing should never occur again. Most members on our board were opposed to downgrading penalties at this point."
Under the KFA rules, before downgrading can be discussed, a player under a lifetime ban must have served the penalty for at least five years, and a player under suspension of a certain length must have passed at least the halfway point of his penalty.
For instance, Choi, one of the higher-profile players in the scandal, was handed down the five-year probation in August 2011, and only two years have passed.
Kwak added that the KFA will have talks with the K League over reducing penalties on four acquitted players, without specifying when such discussions will convene.
Professional football became the first sport here to be rocked with a match-fixing scandal in 2011, with dozens of former and active players indicted or convicted. Three other major pro sports in the country, volleyball, baseball and basketball, also dealt with match fixing of their own.