Korea Shows Soccer How to Get Tough [New York times]“Zero tolerance” is the in phrase among sports officials these days.Sepp Blatter of FIFA and Jacques Rogge of the International Olympic Committee speak about it. South Korea practices it.
This past weekend, 10 Korean professional soccer players were banned for life from playing the game. The men, including one former national team player, Kim Dong-hyun, have yet to face criminal prosecution. But the Korea Football Association has banned them anyway.
“We made the decision determined that this would be the first and last match-fixing scandal in the league,” said Kwak Young-cheol, the head of the K-League disciplinary committee.
“Players must keep in mind that they will be kicked out of the sport permanently if they get caught committing wrongdoing.” The 10, and four other men accused of collaborating to fix the outcome of matches for betting purposes, could, if convicted in court, face seven years in jail.
The association, it seems, has concluded their guilt, though Kwak conceded that the life bans would be reviewed if they were cleared in criminal proceedings.
This, remember, is the Republic of Korea — not North Korea.
The K.F.A., the parent body to the 28-year-old K-League, has been built up through its past president, Chung Mong-joon, a leading lawmaker in the National Assembly in Seoul.
Chung was recently deposed as a vice president of FIFA, in part because his straight talk sat uncomfortably with some of the corrupt practices now being unraveled at the top of the world governing body of soccer.
Interestingly, there recently was a massive audit of Korean bureaucracy, which uncovered tons of cases of ridiculous, outright corruption on the part of Korean bureaucracy involving money, gifts, alcohol, golf and prostitution from the affected corporations -- you know, the usual. It's nice to see at least some part of Korea being applauded for being tough on corruption.
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