Jeju United defender Hong Jeong Ho has been cleared of any involvement in the recent K-League match-fixing scandal that has rocked the nation and thrown dozens of players’ careers into doubt.
Changwon District Prosecutor’s Office announced on Aug. 3 that Hong Jeong Ho and Yoon Bitgaram (Gyeongnam FC) had not participated in any part of match-fixing.
Hong, who was under investigation from last July, will now be able to return to training and competition.
According the the result of the investigation, Hong was asked by a colleague on June 6, 2010, to fix a match between Jeju and Seoul. However, Hong refused, returning the unsolicited 4 million won that was sent to his bank account.
The prosecution also charged two gangs which are alleged to have impersonated reporters and threatened to disclose Hong’s purported involvement in match-fixing if they did not receive 40 million won. It was discovered that Hong’s agent, who worried about his client’s reputation, gave the gangs 1 million won.
Now that Hong is in the clear, he has a chance to return to the national team side for the third preliminary round competition in September for the 2014 World Cup.
South Korea’s head coach Cho Kwang Rae said through in an interview with The AP, “I can’t select Hong for this tryout match with Japan but I will let him join the team in the third preliminary round for the 2014 World Cup.”
(Translation by Baek Hee Youn)
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