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KBO players' association apologizes for match-fixing scandal

All Headlines 15:45 August 08, 2016

SEOUL, Aug. 8 (Yonhap) -- The umbrella group for South Korean professional baseball players on Monday apologized for a recent match-fixing scandal involving their members and pledged to come up with strict punishment for those who commit such wrongdoings.

The Korea Professional Baseball Players Association (KPBPA) said it feels responsible for the match-fixing scandal involving players in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) that is still being investigated by the police.

So far, three players -- Lee Tae-yang of the NC Dinos, outfielder Moon Woo-ram, who plays for the military club Sangmu in the Futures League, the KBO's minor league, and Yoo Chang-sik of the Kia Tigers -- came under police investigation for match fixing last month. All three players are currently suspended by the KBO.

However, the police in late July hinted that more players could be summoned for questioning on their alleged.

"We apologize to baseball fans and to all South Koreans that the match-fixing scandal has occurred again since 2012," said the KPBPA chief Lee Ho-jun, who also plays for the Dinos. "We admit that the KPBPA put less effort to prevent match fixing and believe that this scheme happened again due to our indolent countermeasures and blindly trusting our members."

In 2012, Park Hyun-joon and Kim Sung-hyun, both then playing for the LG Twins, were caught fixing games and banned for life after receiving suspended jail terms.

The KPBPA said it will set up a rule that requires all players to report match-fixing offers and such related activities. And if players don't follow the guidelines, they will be punished the same as those who actually participated in the offense, the association added.

The KBO last month announced that it would accept confessions by players or club officials regarding match fixing through this Friday, and those who turn themselves in during this period would not be slapped with lifetime bans. But so far, only Yoo has confessed to the KBO.

"We will mete out punishment even if a player just meets with a person who is engaged in match-fixing activities," Lee said. "If match-fixing scandal occurs again, all of our members will pay a fine and do community service."

The KPBPA said it will soon create a fund worth 2 billion won ($1.8 million) and use the money to educate amateur and pro players about match-fixing activities. It added that all players will bow for apology in front of fans before they start their games on Tuesday.

"Even if they aren't caught this time, those who engaged in match fixing can contaminate other good teammates later and they will probably suffer from ties with brokers and other illegal gambling criminals for life," Lee said. "If there are players who fixed games, I hope they turn themselves in."


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