Gov’t toughens punishment for match fixing in sports
The government on Tuesday toughened punishments for match fixing in local professionals sports, in light of a major match-rigging scandal that shook the nation's top division football league earlier this year.
During a Cabinet meeting held at Cheong Wa Dae, the government passed a bill on revising the national sports promotion law, which governs sales of Sports Toto, the only licensed sports lottery in Korea.
Under the change, players or coaches who receive or demand bribes in attempts to fix matches through the lottery will be fined up to 50 million won ($44,826), up from a maximum fine of 15 million won.
Individuals who give bribes in match-fixing schemes will be jailed for up to five years or pay a maximum fine of 50 million won. Previously, such a violation led to no more than two years in prison or 10 million won in fines.
The match-fixing schemes in K-League football were first uncovered in May, and ensuing investigations led to the arrests and indictments of dozens of active and former players. These players, some of whom were banned from football for life, were charged with accepting money from gambling brokers in exchange for deliberately making mistakes in games.
Prosecutors said gamblers bet on K-League games through Sports Toto, wagering on underdogs and bribing players on favored teams to throw games to win high dividends.
The K-League temporarily took its games off Sports Toto after the scandal first surfaced. Teams in football, baseball, volleyball and basketball receive portions of proceeds from sports lottery sales. (Yonhap)