The reality of professional soccer ‘player business’ has been revealed… Former national team coach also implicated

The reality of so-called ‘player trading’, where money and valuables are exchanged in exchange for membership in a professional soccer club, has been revealed. Eleven people, including professional team officials, university leaders, and agents, were booked on charges of breach of trust and enrichment and handed over to trial. While a stir is brewing as former coach Choi Tae-wook, who served as the national soccer team coach until last year, is known to be involved, the soccer world is also nervous about the possibility of the investigation expanding to professional soccer as a whole.

On the 13th, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office announced the results of its investigation into the professional soccer recruitment corruption case and charged 11 people, including professional team and university leaders, with receiving money and valuables in exchange for joining K League 1 and 2 professional soccer teams from 2017 to this year, as well as breach of trust and bribery. It was announced that he had been booked. Among them, Lee Jong-geol, former CEO of Ansan Greeners, and agent Choi were indicted, and eight people, including former coach Choi Tae-wook, were indicted without detention. An agent who is fleeing overseas has had his prosecution suspended.

메이저놀이터According to the prosecution, former CEO Lee Jong-geol is accused of receiving 50 million won worth of foreign car payments directly from a player’s father in exchange for joining the team last year, and also received about 27 million won in expensive watches and cash from agent Choi. It is known that he received 9 million won in return for appointing then-acting director Lim Jong-heon as director.

Former coach Lim Jong-heon has also already been arrested on charges of receiving 45 million won from agent Choi in exchange for signing a player and defrauding the player’s father of 60 million won. There has also been an additional charge of giving 9 million won to CEO Lee in return for his appointment as director. Bae, head of the power reinforcement team, as well as the coach of University A, the coach of Club B, and the coach of University C are all suspected of receiving 7 to 60 million won from agent Choi in the name of personnel expenses or in exchange for player recruitment.

Agent Choi, who was identified as a key figure in this case, has already been arrested on charges of breach of trust for giving a total of 129 million won to the previous five people. Mr. Choi received 60 million won from the players’ parents and donated 27 million won worth of money and valuables to former CEO Lee, or received 95 million won in personnel expenses from three players from University A who entered the professional ranks and donated 60 million won of this to the coach of University A. He is accused of handing it over. 

Former coach Choi Tae-wook is accused of conspiring in agent Choi’s breach of trust. Coach Choi is known to have been the former benefactor of a player whose agent Choi tried to get the player to join by giving money to three Ansan club officials, including the CEO. Along with former coach Choi Tae-wook, the soccer team coach of an elementary school was also indicted without detention on charges of breach of trust.

The prosecution had previously secured clues while reviewing the case of agent Choi’s fraudulent non-delivery case, and then proceeded with the investigation by securing evidence through re-investigation of the person involved, account tracing, and search and seizure. Agent Choi is known to have already stated that he delivered money and valuables to CEO Lee Jong-geol and the head of the power reinforcement team.

The soccer world was also turned upside down. First, the Professional Football League will exclude former coach Choi Tae-wook from the work of the Federation’s Technical Research Group (TSG) and discuss further disciplinary action depending on the future trial process. The Korea Football Association, which has already been notified of the misconduct by the prosecution, plans to convene the Fairness Committee according to the details of the indictment and decide on disciplinary action after observing the results of the trial.

It is known that Ansan Bay is not the only club the player joined through agent Choi, so the possibility that the investigation will expand in the future cannot be ruled out. A prosecution official said, “Player trading is a structural and chronic evil that not only reduces players to a means of receiving bribes and hinders the development of professional teams, but also discourages the hopes of hard-working players and undermines the authority of dedicated leaders.” “We will do our best to maintain prosecution so that they can receive punishment commensurate with their crimes.”

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