The government gets tough with match-fixing practices and illegal sports gambling sites
The government has come up with special measures to eradicate match-fixing cases that have rocked the sports community of late.
In a press conference on Feb. 14, Noh Tae-gang, director general of sports at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST), declared his determination to uproot match-fixing and other illegal practices from the sports field. "The recent revelations of a series of incidents are serious crimes that could collapse the existence of sports, which enshrine hopes and inspirations," he said.
Noh said the reality is that laws and institutions alone cannot eradicate match-fixing practices, and the government will work out ways of preventing players from being tempted to fall into a game-fixing environment by blocking illegal gambling sites through massive crackdowns.
The government is set to announce a revision bill of the Act on the Promotion of Public Sports that would impose severe punishment on those involved in match-fixing and illegal sports gambling sites.
According to the amendment measure, those involved in game-fixing and operators of illegal sports gambling sites would face less than seven years in prison or fines of less than 70 million won. These violators could also be sentenced to both, and all the proceeds from the crimes would be confiscated to the last.
It is noteworthy that the latest revision bill has reflected the government's strong determination to uproot illegal sports gambling sites that have snuck through to strengthen their presence via SMS and e-mail messages through the clandestine management of memberships without their exposures to the outside.
In an effort to thoroughly eradicate such illegal practices, the amendment measure would stipulate the punishment of not just illegal sports gambling site operators, but also those who design, manufacture, transact, and publicize them as well as even arrange illegal betting. In particular, those who participate in gambling via illegal sports sites would face less than five years in prison or fines of less than 50 million won in order to block people's access to the unlawful sites.
Recognizing the need for the general public's active reporting, the government decided to pay a reward to informants of illegal sports gambling sites.
Director General Noh said, "The revision bill has been worked out as illegal sports gambling has pervaded in the whole of public lives, and the punishment of not only illegal sports gambling site operators, but also involved gamblers would be warnings to the general public that we are gaining momentum in eradicating illegal sports gambling sites."
The latest revision bill would lay a legal foundation for doling out the public sports promotion fund for supporting low-incoming earners' sporting activities. The revision bill also would subdivide the qualifications for certifying athletic instructors, now limited to game instructors and public sports instructors, into five categories -- sports instructors, health & workout managers, sports instructors for handicapped people, sports instructors for children, and sports instructors for the elderly.
The regulations on punishing match-fixing and illegal sports gambling sites are to take effect shortly after they obtain approval from the chief executive. The revision of the qualifications of athletic instructors is to enter into force on Jan. 1, 2014, since it is connected with the revision of college athletics curriculums.
The match-fixing issue came to head last year as professional soccer players were found to be engaging in game-fixing practices in return for money. The government has come up with measures to counter illegal practices as the revelations of match-fixing has recently spread to professional volleyball games and possibly to professional baseball matches and professional basketball games.