The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) has handed down community service and fines to SSG’s Kim Kwang-hyun, NC’s Lee Yong-chan and Doosan’s Jeong Chul-won for their controversial drinking behaviour during the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC).
The KBO held a punishment committee meeting at the Dogok-dong Baseball Hall in Gangnam-gu, Seoul on 7 July at 11am to determine the level of discipline for Kim Kwang-hyun, Lee Yong-chan and Chung Chul-won. It announced the punishments at 5pm and concluded them after a marathon meeting that lasted about six hours.
The punishment committee met behind closed doors and the three appeared in person. Dressed in black suits, they arrived at 11 a.m. and left short statements saying “I will do my best” and “I will do my best” before going to the meeting room.먹튀검증
About an hour later, the three completed their testimonies and stood in front of the press again. “I gave my testimony for the last time and told the truth without lying,” said Kim Kwang-hyun, adding, “I will accept the results of the penalty committee. We are sorry for causing trouble once again.” Lee Yong-chan said, “I told the truth as stated in the police report, and I will wait for the result and accept it well,” and Chung Chul-won bowed his head, saying, “I sincerely testified based on the facts, and I am truly sorry.”
On the 30th of last month, a media outlet reported that some of the players who represented Korea in the WBC had been drinking alcohol during the tournament, especially at a nightclub in Akasaka, Tokyo, Japan, from the day before the game until the early hours of the morning. The report did not mention the players’ real names, but detailed their positions, saying they were a right-handed starting pitcher, a right-handed bullpen pitcher, and a right-handed closer.
Kim Kwang-hyun, Lee Yong-chan, and Jeong Chul-won later admitted to drinking alcohol and apologised. However, they claimed that they did not visit any entertainment venues the day before the game, contrary to the media reports. They claimed that they drank alcohol at a snack bar on 7 March, the day they travelled from Osaka, Japan, to Tokyo, and on 10 March, the day before the rest day, and that the female waitresses were not present.
In response, the KBO set up an investigation committee to conduct a face-to-face investigation with the players, requesting that they submit statements of explanation, and also contacted the manager of the named Tokyo nightlife establishment via telephone to confirm the date and time of entry, payment, and the presence of staff.
Separately, the Investigation Committee conducted three full investigations of all KBO players, with the exception of two players who were playing in overseas leagues, to determine whether or not they had entered the bars during the tournament. All 25 players, except Kim Kwang-hyun, Lee Yong-chan and Chung Chul-won, confirmed that they did not visit bars.
The three athletes submitted their credit card details to the Investigation Committee to verify their whereabouts in Tokyo. The Investigation Committee made efforts to verify the facts through face-to-face interviews with the players and the managers of the bars.
The investigation revealed that Kim Kwang-hyun entered the venue on two occasions: on 7 March, when the team arrived in Tokyo, and on 11 March, shortly after the end of the Japan game. Chung Chul-won accompanied Kim Kwang-hyun on one occasion on the 11th, and Lee Yong-chan visited the location separately from the two players after the game on the 11th.
After deliberation, the Award and Punishment Committee imposed a punishment of 80 hours of community service and a sanction of 5 million won on Kim Kwang-hyun for damaging the national team’s dignity by visiting a nightclub on two occasions during the tournament based on Article 151 of the KBO Constitution. Lee Yong-chan and Chung Chul-won, who visited a bar once, were each sentenced to 40 hours of community service and a fine of 3 million won.
The team finished third in their group with two wins and two losses at the tournament, suffering their third consecutive first-round exit. In particular, their first match against Australia was a disgraceful 7-8 loss, and they were humiliated by Japan 4-13. To add insult to injury, it was recently revealed that the three players had been drinking alcohol during the tournament.
The KBO once again apologised for the controversy surrounding the players’ drinking during the tournament, which fell short of expectations. “We deeply apologise for the lack of management of the national team,” said a KBO official, “We will thoroughly prepare and strive to prevent such incidents in the future by further refining the national team rules.”