Seoul: A veteran South Korean player said Friday his teammates had been asked to throw matches for money, as prosecutors expanded a probe into rampant allegations of football betting fraud.
Kim Byung-Ji, a 41-year-old goalkeeper for Gyeongnam FC, told a radio talk show that some of his teammates had said last July they had received calls from fixers.
"I advised them to sternly reject such offers," said Kim, the oldest player in the country's professional K-League.
He said he was aware of rumours that fixers target young players with meagre pay, especially defenders and goalkeepers.
Prosecutors in the southeastern city of Changwon arrested two suspected fixers this week on charges of bribing a goalkeeper and a midfielder to rig the results of matches.
Prosecutors said they bought sports lottery tickets and paid a total of 220 million won ($200,000) to the two unidentified players last month in return for rigging a tournament.
The unidentified goalkeeper, a backup, received 100 million won to help his team, Gwangju FC, lose a tournament held on the sidelines of the K-League's regular season on April 6.
But he actually did not play the match because he was benched, Gwangju told Yonhap news agency after an internal probe into the scandal.
Gwangju said the keeper returned only about 10 million won to the fixer after his team ended up losing the game 1-0. He was expelled from his team last week.
Yonhap said prosecutors were questioning four other players, including a former national team player, for suspected involvement in match-fixing.
Newspapers say football clubs tend to hush up such scandals and have been silently expelling players implicated in match-rigging since last year.
The K-League will ask authorities to take its games off Sports Toto, the country's only licensed sports lottery, for a while to prevent match-fixing, league secretary general Ahn Gi-Heon told reporters Thursday.
"Many club representatives felt it was only a few players (involved) and it shouldn't affect the entire league," Ahn said, adding his office would form a committee to eliminate corruption.