The recruitment scandal that has swept through professional soccer is likely to go to trial. Prosecutors have sent former Ansan FC president Lee Jong-geol, 60, to trial for allegedly taking money in exchange for joining a professional team.
According to News1, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office’s Criminal Division 9 (Deputy Chief Prosecutor Kim Hyun-ah) announced on the 13th that it has indicted Lee and Bae Mo, the head of 온라인카지노 Ansan FC’s power enhancement team, on charges of embezzlement.
Three others, Hong Mo, a player’s father, Choi Mo, an elementary school soccer coach, and Choi Tae-wook, a former national coach, who provided money in exchange for recruitment, were handed over to trial together on suspicion of embezzlement. This brings to 10 the number of people indicted for their involvement in the professional soccer recruitment scandal.
The most central figure in the case is Lee. He is accused of receiving a total of 27 million won worth of goods, including a Rolex watch, from agent Choi Mo-soo in exchange for signing a player, 50 million won for a Mercedes Benz from the player’s father, Hong, and 9 million won from former Ansan Greeners FC manager Lim Jong-heon in exchange for appointing a coach. It is known to have engaged in all-round recruitment irregularities.
Bae, the head of Ansan FC’s power enhancement team, is on trial for allegedly receiving 30 million won from agent Choi in exchange for joining the team.
The player’s father, Hong, is accused of providing Lee with a Mercedes Benz in exchange for the player’s recruitment, while Choi, a former national coach, and Lim, an elementary school soccer coach, are accused of conspiring with the agent to provide money to Lee and Lim for the recruitment of their former student.
The case is significant because it highlights a darker side of the soccer world that still exists. It’s not just about the 10 players, either.
The prosecution is also taking a broader view of the case through the fraud case of agent Choi, who was previously detained by the police. The prosecution said it has re-investigated the case and identified a systemic problem of professional soccer clubs and leaders in the K1 and K2 leagues accepting money in the name of personnel expenses and development funds from players joining the clubs, but dismissing it as a practice.
According to prosecutors, some coaches lied to players by promising to get them into professional teams. In some civic clubs, it was also confirmed that the CEO took bribes for signing players who were completely unrelated to the club’s needs, or accepted bribes in exchange for coaching positions.
This is not the only case. In July, prosecutors indicted Lim on charges of embezzlement, fraud, and violation of the Proceeds of Crime Act. On the same day, three others – Shin Mo, the former head coach of Yonsei University’s soccer team, Shin Mo, the head coach of a professional club, and Kim Mo, the head coach of Soongsil University‘s soccer team – were also indicted. All three are accused of accepting money from Choi in exchange for signing players to professional teams.
Agent Choi is a key figure in the case, along with Lee. He was arrested and charged with embezzlement and fraud on March 14. The agent’s aunt, who allegedly colluded with Lim, fled overseas and is currently under indictment.
A prosecution official said, “We have confirmed the reality of ‘player management’ in which money is exchanged in exchange for joining a professional team in a situation of unlimited competition where only 3.7% of all soccer players join a professional team.” “We will do our best to maintain the prosecution so that the defendants who take player management lightly as a practice can be punished commensurate with their crimes.”