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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Choi admits to role in match fixing


Seoul — Former Kashiwa Reysol striker Choi Sung Kuk has admitted to involvement in a widening match-fixing scandal that has rocked South Korean soccer's professional K-League to its core, Yonhap News Agency reported Wednesday.

Ex-South Korea international Choi, who played for current J. League leader Reysol in 2005, admitted to his involvement in throwing matches to the league on Tuesday and the case is now in the hands of prosecutors, said Yonhap, citing an unnamed K-League official.

Choi's is the second known case of an individual reporting himself to the K-League in the scandal, which surfaced last month and has already seen 11 active K-Leaguers indicted by the public and military prosecution.

The 28-year-old is by far the highest-profile player to be implicated in match-fixing. He has been capped 26 times for his country and has also played for the under-19 and under-23 national teams.

Yonhap quoted the K-League official as saying Kim Dong Hyun, one of the indicted players, dragged Choi into the match-rigging scheme.

The official said Choi met with Kim and other players last June to plot attempts to throw matches. Kim allegedly offered Choi cash for his role but Choi denied taking the money, the official said.

Choi denied any wrongdoing at a press conference last month, saying, "If I had done anything wrong, I would've been summoned by the prosecutors, and not here talking with you."

According to Yonhap, players have until the end of this month to turn themselves in for lenient penalties from the league. The K-League has said it would also ask prosecutors to reduce punishments for such players.

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