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Top baseball league tweaks free agency rules

All News 15:50 January 17, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 17 (Yonhap) -- The country's top baseball league on Tuesday tweaked its free agency rule, removing a clause that hadn't been enforced.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) made the decision at its first board of directors meeting of the new year. It used to stipulate that all free agents must sign by Jan. 15 each year to be eligible for the following season, but the deadline has been taken out of the rule book.

The deadline actually became moot in 2013, two years after former catcher Lee Do-hyung, forced into an unwanted retirement when he couldn't land a deal, waged a successful legal battle for players' rights to retain free agency after Jan. 15.

This year, three players remain unsigned from the free agency pool.

In another change to free agency, clubs must now report their new signings to the league office on the following day, rather than within two days as previously required.

The league removed another player-related clause that hadn't been strictly enforced. The rule book said foreign players hoping to return to the KBO must re-sign by Dec. 31, but players have inked new deals past that deadline in recent seasons.

The KBO also added impaired driving, gambling and doping to the list of punishable offenses, which currently includes racial discrimination and sexual assault.


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