Only cynics will believe that match-fixing is limited to just football; the truth is, it’s infiltrated so many sports that it wouldn’t be surprising if it’s also prevalent in the Lizard Racing Championships. Yep, there’s such a thing.
South Korea alone has been besieged with match-fixing cases in football, basketball, volleyball and baseball leagues and there’s no telling how many more sports it has contaminated.
The country’s basketball league, in particular, the Korean Basketball League, has been cast under the cloud of match-fixing, specifically involving Kang Dong-hee, the head coach of the league’s Dongbu Promy. According to the Yonhap News Agency, Kang allegedly took cash from two gambling broker on repeated occasions in 2011 to fix games. Kang has already been brought into questioning and to no one’s surprise, the former player denied all the charges lobbed against him.
At this point, the problem isn’t so much about the coach anymore. Kang is only one of many individuals that have been accused of being involved in match-fixing, which has slowly desecrated the integrity of sports and every good thing it’s supposed to espouse.
The problem has become so serious in the KBL that league commissioner Han Sun-kyo was rumored to have contemplated on canceling the season. He rejected those rumors, saying, “We will continue on with the season as we normally would.”
That’s the prudent thing to do, especially considering the public relations nightmare it would have brought had the the 16-year old league decided to shelve the season. Besides, the KBL’s season is already winding down so there really was no point in putting the brakes on a season that’s already in its last legs.
As far as Kang is concerned, he’s facing far more serious consequences should he be found guilty of fixing games. According to the Korean government’s law on sports promotion, Kang stands to face up to five years in prison or be imposed with a 50-million won fine. And that doesn’t even count the penalties the KBL is ready to slap on the coach if he’s deemed guilty.
“We will have no choice but to issue a stern punishment if he’s convicted,” commissioner Han said. “During our board meeting, a possibility of a lifetime ban was also discussed. But we will have to wait for the conclusion of prosecutors’ investigation and for the final court ruling.”
There’s no telling what the end game would look like if the coach is found guilty of fixing games. Not only will it lead to more questions regarding the KBL, but it also casts a pall of doubt on the integrity of all the sports leagues in Korea.