BERNE, Jan 9: World governing body FIFA on Wednesday extended the match-fixing sanctions on 41 players in South Korea to worldwide life bans although 21 of them have been offered a reprieve.
The 41 had already been banned for life by the Korea Football Association following the scandal which erupted in 2011 and involved matches played the previous year. The scandal led the South Korean government to threaten to wind up the K-League if action was not taken.
Ten other players involved in match-fixing were given worldwide bans by FIFA in June while in March, South Korea’s volleyball association banned 11 players for life in a bid to curb corruption in domestic sport.
FIFA said that a reprieve had been offered to 21 players who turned themselves in during the voluntary reporting period and expressed “grave regret” about their involvement in match-fixing.
Those players must go through a probation period of between two and five years, including community service ranging from 200 to 500 hours. Reinstatement after the probation would be up to the Korea Football Association.
The match-fixing scandal erupted in 2011 when some 50 players and coaches from six K-League sides were charged along with 11 criminal gang members and bookmakers with taking money to rig 15 games during 2010.
The scandal has led to two players and a former coach taking their own lives
In April of last year, former Suwon Samsung Bluewings midfielder Lee Kyung-Hwan, 24, killed himself while in May, Jeong Jong-Kwan, a 29-year-old midfielder with a third-division outfit, also committed suicide as did Lee Soo-Cheol, a former coach of the military football club, found dead last October.—Agencies