Sports

Korea baseball in the dumps, again

South Korean police yesterday laid out charges against seven current and former professional players involved in an alleged match-fixing scam, with the apparent collusion of club officials.

Those named on the charge sheet included Yoo Chang Sik and Lee Sung Min - currently pitchers with the Kia Tigers and Lotte Giants - who were accused of taking cash to deliberately walk batters while playing for different teams two years ago.

The police also accused the general manager and another executive official with the NC Dinos team of covering up Lee's actions, before trading him to the expansion club KT Wiz in 2015 for 1 billion won ($1.2 million).

Match-fixing for illegal-betting purposes has cast a constant shadow over the professional South Korean baseball league in recent years, but this was the first time that senior club officials have been charged with involvement.

According to the police, Lee allegedly received 3m won for deliberately walking a batter in the first innings of a game in 2014.

Yoo, who was then pitching for the Hanwha Eagles, received a similar cash payout for walking batsmen in two separate games in the same year.

DECEPTION

"These players issued walks in the first inning on purpose, trying to deceive their manager and fans that they were not fully warmed up," the Yonhap news agency quoted one police official as saying.

NC Dinos uncovered Lee's scam but decided not to report him for fear of tarnishing the club's image, police said.

South Korea has tough laws restricting gambling and the government has stepped up a crackdown on illegal Internet betting sites.

But match-fixing scandals in professional sports have increasingly made headlines, touching baseball, football, volleyball, basketball and even motorboat racing. 
- AFP.

BASEBALLSouth Koreamatch-fixing