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Ex-South Korean Soccer Referees Indicted Over Payments

  • Associated Press

FILE - Players from South Korea's Pohang Steelers.

FILE - Players from South Korea's Pohang Steelers.

South Korean prosecutors have indicted two former soccer referees over allegations that they received money from a club official - also formally charged - in return for favorable decisions in five K-League matches in 2013.

An official from the K-League said Wednesday that the two former referees, who allegedly received 5 million Korean won ($4,200) from a Jeonbuk Hyundai scout over five matches between March and October 2013, were permanently expelled from the league in December after prosecutors began their investigation into corruption in professional soccer.

The two men were among four former referees convicted in court in February for receiving money from Gyeongnam FC officials over matches between 2013 and 2015.

Jeonbuk, which on Tuesday advanced to the quarterfinals of the Asian Champions League, said it suspended the scout and that he acted alone. Officials from the Busan District Prosecutors' Office refused to reveal the games involved and also didn't comment on whether they had evidence that could potentially implicate higher officials at the club.

Jeonbuk head coach Choi Kanghee, who managed South Korea's national team from December 2011 to June 2013, hinted after the club's 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory on Tuesday that he could resign from the club if prosecutors prove the charges against the scout as true.

“As the head coach who manages the team, I feel responsibility... Someone has to take responsibility over this disgraceful incident,” he said.

The K-League had vowed reforms after being rocked by a massive match-fixing scandal in 2011, when 52 players were indicted for taking bribes in return for trying to manipulate the outcome of matches or betting their own money on the games.

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