Football: K-League bribery scandal puts paid to scheduled Man City-Jeonbuk friendly

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors midfielder Leonardo Rodrigues Pereira (left) celebrates his goal at the AFC Champions League round of 16 football match in Jeonju, on May 24, 2016.
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors midfielder Leonardo Rodrigues Pereira (left) celebrates his goal at the AFC Champions League round of 16 football match in Jeonju, on May 24, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Reuters - Plans for a friendly match between Manchester City and South Korean champions Jeonbuk Motors next month have been scrapped due a recent bribery scandal at the K-League club.

Jeonbuk were rocked by accusations last month that one of their scouts paid top-flight referees to influence games. Two referees have been charged with accepting bribes totalling five million won (S$5,790), with the scout making three payments to one official and two to the other, each for a million won, in 2013.

The scout has said the payments were of a personal nature and not aimed at influencing games. Jeonbuk had asked the K-League for permission to host the English side at Jeonju World Cup Stadium on July 30.

Korea's Yonhap news quoted a K-League official as saying on Monday: "Professional football is quite a big mess due to referee scandals and other things so I officially told Jeonbuk to refrain from organising anything too festive."

In a separate case, two former K-League referee chiefs were indicted by prosecutors in a bribery scandal, according to a local media last Thursday.

Bribery allegations have dogged South Korean soccer, prompting K-League authorities to introduce a computer-generated allocation system for assigning referees last year.