It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the 2023 edition of the Korean Baseball League.
The 2023 season saw the league set an unprecedented box office record, fueled by the impact of the 2022 World Cup Qatar round of 16 and relegation and promotion battles. However, a darker side of the league that was overshadowed by the excitement finally surfaced, shocking fans.월카지노
Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2023, the league surpassed 3 million spectators for the first time since 2018, when it began tracking paid attendance, erasing the aftermath of COVID-19. Last year, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, was the first year of full spectator access. Fans’ “soccer intuition” was confirmed. This year, for the second year, we opened the 3 million spectator era.
However, along with this success, this season’s K League has also seen its share of incidents. There were various scandals such as the arrest of a coach, racism controversy, and drunk driving.
The first ‘racism’ case in the 40-year history of the K League… Controversy over cotton bat discipline
In the 18th round match against Jeju United on June 10, Ulsan won 5-1. Lee Myung-jae played brilliantly that day and contributed to the victory, which he posted on his social media accounts. Lee Kyu-sung, Jung Seung-hyun, Park Yong-woo, and the team manager wrote about Lee Myung-jae, saying, “Southeast Asia quarterback is reliable.” “SaXX form is crazy” and “SaXX super tackle”. Lee Myung-jae also replied, “It’s because of you, Asia Quarter,” as if he was used to it.
SaXX is a Thai international soccer player who has played for other teams in the past as an ASEAN quota (a quota that allows a team to sign a player from one of the countries in the Southeast Asian Football Confederation). He broke into the K League 1 on loan in the summer transfer window of the 2021 season. He is currently not playing in South Korea.
His teammates made a nuanced comment about how he looked like a “Southeast Asian” to Lee Myung-jae, who is usually fair-skinned. Lee Myung-jae responded as if it was no big deal.
Despite the fact that SXX never played for Ulsan and had little to do with the team, Ulsan players used him as a talking point, calling him names and making racist comments. This sparked a backlash from various communities in Korea.
As the controversy grew, the players, including Lee Myung-jae, deleted the comments. Some social media users criticized the lack of an apology. For the first time in its 40-year history, the Korean Football Association held a punishment committee for a racist incident, and Park Yong-woo, Lee Kyu-sung, and Lee Myung-jae were each suspended for one game and fined 15 million won.
Ulsan issued an apology and imposed its own discipline. However, only Jung Seung-hyun, who had not been disciplined by the federation, was given a one-match suspension. Out of respect for the federation’s discipline, the club did not discipline the other three players. The KFA claimed to have looked to overseas clubs for guidance, but the standards then and now are not the same. Both the federation and the clubs have been criticized for using cotton batting as a punishment. National team coach Jürgen Klinsmann was also criticized for giving Park Yong-woo a free pass when he sent him home.
Some players have retired due to drunk driving accidents… but others have continued to play Drunk Driving and Happenings
This season alone, we’ve seen several players leave their teams after being caught drinking and driving. The biggest case was the drunk driving of Suwon FC’s Ras, who was at the top of the scoring rankings. He was caught drinking and driving in August and was suspended for 15 games and fined 4 million won by the federation. The club mutually terminated Rath’s contract some time later after consulting with various parties.
In April, FC Anyang striker Jonathan was also caught drinking and driving, and the club mutually terminated his contract with an apology. In October, Gangwon FC’s Kim Jung-ho was also caught drinking and driving. The KFA imposed a 60-day suspension and Gangwon immediately terminated his contract.
The termination of a foreign player’s contract after a DUI raises a number of questions. While clubs are quick to cut players from their teams after they have caused a social uproar, they are also quick to release them as free agents, making it easier for them to find another team overseas. In the case of a club that paid a transfer fee for the player, the transfer fee would be wasted. Suwon FC also had this problem and kept Lars for a while before releasing him.
Of course, Suwon FC’s behavior is also problematic. In the case of Suwon FC, there was a case in 2019 when a domestic player they signed on loan was unable to play due to a DUI. Ras was the club’s second DUI player. In that case, the club should have taken responsibility for neglecting to prevent a recurrence and issued an apology, but it was pointed out that they only blamed Ras.
There were also players who terminated their contracts due to other issues. Sandro, who played for Gwangju FC, self-reported on May 18 after driving a rented car without an international license (he had a national driver’s license) and colliding with a car in front of him that was waiting at a traffic light, causing a traffic accident.
At the time, Sandro was waiting for his international license to be issued due to the reform of Brazil’s driver’s license system, and he ended up driving without a license and causing an accident. Sandro was suspended indefinitely by the federation and his contract was mutually terminated in July.
◆ Rare player signing irregularities + recruitment irregularities… The coach was arrested and charged.
The Korean Football Association imposed a sanction of 50 million won on the K League 2 Ansan Greeners for ‘player recruitment irregularities’ through the 17th penalty committee on July 7.
Ansan’s former head coach Lim Jong-heon was detained and is on trial for embezzlement and fraud. Lim is accused of receiving 40 million won from agent Choi Mo-chee in exchange for selecting two Korean players while he was head coach of Thai club Navy FC for two years from 2018. He is also accused of defrauding one player of 60 million won by tricking him into joining a professional team.
In addition, former Ansan CEO Lee Jong-geol was handed over to trial for allegedly receiving a Benz car worth 50 million won, a Rolex watch worth 27 million won, and cash from the players’ parents and Mr. Choi in exchange for signing two players from last year to this year (embezzlement, etc.). Bae Mo, the former head of the power enhancement team, was also charged with embezzlement.
On the 7th, the federation said, “As a result of the prosecution’s investigation, former CEO Lee Jong-geol, former head coach Lim Jong-heon, and former head coach Bae Seung-hyun of Ansan FC were found to have received money from agents and parents in exchange for player selection from 2022 to 2023, and were charged with bribery and other offenses, At the time of the incident, it is believed that the internal checks and balances of the Ansan club were virtually paralyzed, and therefore, beyond the misconduct at the individual level, the penalty committee said that the club is strictly responsible for this discipline.” He explained the background of imposing discipline on the club.
This was also a slap on the wrist. While it’s a rare occurrence for a club’s president and manager to be prosecuted, the fine of 50 million won is ridiculously small.