SEOUL - Players banned for life in the match-fixing scandal engulfing South Korean professional football have been told there will be no way back into the game in any role or at any level.
The Korea Football Association (KFA) has adopted a zero tolerance policy after the country's government threatened to shut down the K-League if it did not clean up its act.
"The K-League's penalty was confined to the professional league, and we decided to expand it to cover the entire sport," a KFA official told Yonhap news agency on Friday.
"From now on, players involved in match-fixing will be completely thrown out of the game."
The K-League's crackdown on corruption has already led to life bans for 10 players - eight from the Daejon Citizen club alone.
The KFA said they would be banned from profiting in the sport in any way, be it playing in amateur leagues, becoming football coaches or agents in the future.
The most embarrassing scandal to hit the league since it was established in 1983 has sent shockwaves through sport in South Korea, prompting the government to wade in on the issue.
The 10 players were booted out of the sport for accepting cash in return for helping to throw matches, while another has been banned from the K-League for five years.
Five more players have been detained, two of them, including South Korea international Choi Sung-kuk, came forward under a K-League amnesty which offers reduced penalties and which ends on July 7.
A player was also found dead in a hotel room with media reporting a suicide note was found at the scene linked to the match-fixing saga.
While dominant in the Asian Champions League tournament, domestically K-League clubs have been struggling to fill seats while professional baseball basks in record attendances.comments