Tuesday, July 12, 2011

K-League's major restructure to meet the challenge of beating corruption

Scarred by its worst match-fixing scandal in its 28-year history, South Korea's 16-team, professional K-League will split into two divisions and move to a relegation and promotion system from 2013.

Under the new system, the K-League will punish any club that has players found guilty of match rigging by deducting points earned from league games, by depriving clubs the right to compete in the AFC Champions League and also by relegation.

Teams will be allocated to the 1st and 2nd divisions based on their results in the 2012 season and the number of participating clubs required. Discussions will be held with South Korea’s semi-professional National League regarding the availability and preparedness of other clubs.

“The Asian Football Confederation asks for the size of the top division to be 12. We will consider this when deciding the number of teams for each division in discussions with the Korea Football Association,” Ahn Ki-heon, secretary general of the K-League, told media.

According to Yi Whan-woo of The Japan Times, the K-League will introduce lie detectors to support further investigations into corrupt practices but will also make improvements to players’ welfare, introduce a pension plan and raise the minimum annual salary. Changes to the draft system will be applied to players selected next year for the 2013 season.

"The minimum wage will be doubled from the current 12 million won ($11,350) to 24 million won starting next year,” the league confirmed in a statement.

See also: South Korea shocked by further 50 K-League match-fixing arrests

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