AFC Champions League winners Jeonbuk Motors disqualified over bribes

Reigning Asian club champions will not be able to defend their title over their involvement in a 2013 bribery scandal

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 January, 2017, 11:12pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 January, 2017, 11:14pm

Reigning AFC Champions League winners Jeonbuk Motors of South Korea will not be able to defend their title over their involvement in a 2013 bribery scandal, the continent’s soccer governing body said on Wednesday.

The Jeonbuk club were stripped of nine points and fined US$91,000 by the K League’s disciplinary committee in September for payments a club scout made to referees in 2013.

The club were crowned Asian champions in November after sealing a 3-2 aggregate victory over United Arab Emirates team Al Ain. The Asian Football Confederation said the Entry Control Body, a judicial independent body, had disqualified Jeonbuk from the 2017 Asian Champions League. “Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors is ineligible to participate in AFC competitions for the 2017 season due to its indirect involvement in activities aimed at arranging or influencing the outcome of matches during the 2013 and 2014 K-League seasons,” the AFC said.

Prosecutors charged two referees in South Korea’s top league with accepting bribes totalling five million won (HK$33,100) from a Jeonbuk scout. Korea’s Jeju United FC will take Jeonbuk’s place in group H while Ulsan Hyundai will replace Jeju in the play-offs for the 2017 AFC Champions League.

If Hong Kong side Kitchee win against Hanoi next week, they would then play Ulsan, not Jeju, in the play-offs.