Choi Tae-wook, former coach of South Korea’s national soccer team, charged with ‘involvement in irregularities in recruiting players for professional teams’
The former president of the K League 2 Ansan Greeners FC Lee Jong-geol (61) and others have been indicted for allegedly exchanging money in exchange for signing amateur players to professional soccer clubs. The indictment also includes former national team coach Choi Tae-wook, who coached Bentoho at last year’s World Cup in Qatar and helped South Korea advance to the round of 16.아톰카지노
The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office’s Criminal Division 9 (Deputy Chief Prosecutor Kim Hyun-ah) announced on the 13th that it had indicted Lee and Bae Mo, the head of the club’s power enhancement team, on charges including embezzlement.
According to prosecutors, Lee is suspected of letting two players join the club from last year to this year and accepting a Benz car, a Rolex watch and cash worth 50 million won from the players’ parents and agent Choi Mo, among others.
He is also accused of receiving 9 million won from former Ansan FC coach Lim Jong-heon (57-indicted) in exchange for his appointment as head coach. Lim was first indicted in July for allegedly receiving 45 million won from Choi in exchange for a job with a professional soccer team.
Prosecutors confirmed that Choi colluded with former coach Choi Tae-wook in handing over the money to Ansan FC, and the former coach was also indicted on the same day on charges of embezzlement.
Choi was investigated for his past gifts to a player who tried to join Ansan FC.
The case came to light after prosecutors discovered suspicious money transactions between the two while reviewing Choi’s fraud case, which was dismissed by police in May.
As a result of the investigation, prosecutors found a systematic crime in which agents or players’ parents paid money to their managers in exchange for soccer players joining professional teams, and also paid money to the managers and representatives of the professional teams they would join, and sent a total of 10 people to trial, including Lim.
However, the prosecution did not prosecute players and parents if they could be considered actual victims, considering that they have no choice but to comply with the demands and instructions of agents.
The prosecution recovered the proceeds of the crime through restitution and notified the Korean Football Association of the irregularities.
A prosecution official said, “We will do our best to maintain the prosecution so that the defendants who dismiss ‘player trading’ as a practice can be punished according to their crimes.”
Meanwhile, the soccer world was shocked when Choi was indicted on charges of conspiring with an agent to accept money to get his former student into a professional K League club. This is because Choi has always worked hard and had a sincere image.
The KFA announced on Wednesday that it has “immediately excluded former coach Choi Tae-wook from the work of the Technical Study Group (TSG)”. The federation will discuss further disciplinary action based on the outcome of the trial and the judgment of the KFA’s Fairness Committee.
Although Choi has been released from custody, prosecutors believe there is sufficient criminal activity in the charges against him and have requested a formal trial. The statutory penalty for embezzlement, the charge Choi is facing, is up to two years in prison or a fine of up to 5 million won.
Choi is a familiar face in the history of South Korean soccer, having been part of the team that reached the quarterfinals of the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup and competed at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan and the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
After retiring from the K League 1 Ulsan Hyundai in 2014, he turned to coaching, first as a youth scout for Ulsan and then as a youth coach for the K League 2 Seoul Eland. In 2018, he was named national team coach, assisting former national team manager Paulo Bento, and helped South Korea reach the round of 16 at last year’s World Cup in Qatar.
The KFA is also considering what to do with Choi Tae-wook.
“If the prosecutor’s office notifies us of an irregularity, we will look at the indictment and decide whether to convene a tribunal,” said an official from the KFA. “If the tribunal is held, we will listen to the parties’ arguments and then watch the outcome of the trial and decide on the association’s discipline.”
After Lim was indicted, Ansan immediately dismissed him and conspired to hire a new coach, bringing in former head coach Lim Kwan-sik as the new head coach, who is currently playing in the league. However, due to the turbulent atmosphere at the club, the team is currently ranked 12th out of 13 clubs in the 2023 season with 4 wins, 6 draws, and 17 losses (18 points) in the K League 2. Recently appointed coach Lim is looking to rebound by changing the atmosphere of the club.