|The K League disciplinary committee members meet at Football Hall in Seoul, Friday, to discuss punishment for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors over a bribery scandal. / Yonhap
By Kang Hyun-kyung
The K League disciplinary committee ordered on Friday that the football club Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors be deducted nine points and fined 100 million won for bribery.
With the punishment, the frontrunner in the K League Classic has 59 points, only five points ahead of runner-up FC Seoul.
Jeonbuk, which has won the league four times, has six games left.
The football authority's decision came two days after a court ruling on the club's scout, identified only by his last name Cha, on charges of bribing two referees in the K League Classic in return for favorable calls for the team.
Cha, who pleaded not guilty, received a six-month jail term, with a two-year suspended sentence. He was indicted by the Busan District Prosecutors' Office in 2013.
K League disciplinary committee members met at the Football Hall in Seoul.
Before announcing the decision, the K League made an official apology to the public for the corruption scandal that tainted its image.
The K League committee members, including Vice President of the Korea Football Association Huh Jung-moo, said they were "deeply sorry" for the scandal and promised to implement reform measures to prevent future corruption scandals.
In a statement released after the ruling, Jeonbuk said it regretted that the bribery case had occurred and would fully implement the football authority's orders.
The punishment comes as the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has expressed its firm stance against corruption in professional sports.
On Thursday, the ministry unveiled a set of anti-corruption measures.
The government announced a policy of zero tolerance toward any corruption scandals involving professional sports teams and strengthened measures to prevent bribery and other illicit activities, including instituting ethics education for players.