Former S. Korea football coach found dead

19 October 2011 12:05

A former coach of South Korea's military football club was found dead Wednesday in an apparent suicide related to his involvement in a major match-fixing scandal this year, police said.

Police said Lee Soo-Cheol, 45, apparently hanged himself in his apartment home south of Seoul.

He had led the Sangju Sangmu Phoenix, a K-League member, from October 2010 to July, when prosecutors charged 57 people -- 46 current and former players and 11 criminal gang members and gambling brokers -- for fixing 15 matches last year.

Lee was sentenced to two years in prison with three years of probation last month on charges of blackmailing the parents of a player implicated in match rigging to take a bribe.

"No suicide note was found, but his family members said he has been distressed in recent months by the match-rigging scandal," an unnamed investigator told Yonhap news agency.

Prosecutors have said many players had been forced repeatedly to throw games after the gangs threatened to report their involvement in the scam to authorities.

In May, Jeong Jong-Kwan, a 29-year-old midfielder for third-division professional league team, committed suicide at a hotel room in Seoul while being investigated for his involvement in the scandal.

Newspapers say illegal gambling websites, many of them operated by crime rings, have heightened the temptation among players to fix matches.

Source: AFP