South Korea to beef up match-fixing penalties

SEOUL - The South Korean government will beef up penalties for match-fixing to deal with the 'crisis' that has led to the arrest of a handful of football players.

Park Sun-kyu, vice minister of culture, sports and tourism, was quoted in Wednesday's edition of The Korea Herald as saying they were taking steps to root out the problem.

Those convicted of attempting to fix matches or giving bribes will now face a maximum prison sentence of seven years or a fine of up to 70 million won ($64,971).

Those found to have accepted offers to fix matches face a five-year jail term or a fine of up to 50 million won.

"We're now revising the new rules, which will be in effect soon," a humble Park was quoted by the paper. "I have nothing to say but that I am sorry.

"We understand that we're now facing a serious crisis. But this can also be an opportunity to reform our system. We'll try to do everything to root out matching-fixing here."

Five players have been arrested so in far in the probe with the state-run sports bookmaker Sports Toto being stopped from taking bets on matches at the request of K-League club owners.

"I understand that the measures are not sufficient to root out the problem, but it shows the government takes this case seriously. We'll continue to work to root out match-fixing in this country," Park added.