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Korean StarCraft rocked by another match-fixing scandal

Two banned for life - with more expected to follow.

Five years ago a cheating scandal rocked professional StarCraft in Korea. Now, it's happening again.

22-year-old pro StarCraft player YoDa has been banned for life.

A raft of StarCraft 2 pros are reported to have been arrested in South Korea over charges of match-fixing and illegal betting.

According to reports emerging from Korea, and collated on TeamLiquid.net, South Korean police arrested 12 individuals related to the investigation. Only Gerrard (Park Wae-Sik), head coach of the team Prime, players YoDa (Choi Byeong-Heon) and BBoongBBoong (Choi Jong-HyuK), and former pro player Enough (Seong Jun-mo), who allegedly acted as a broker, were named.

Five pro StarCraft 2 matches were investigated and found to have been fixed. Gerrard was charged with receiving 10m Korean Won (approximately £5700) from Enough to order YoDa to intentionally lose a match in GSL Season 1. Apparently Gerrard also received 5m KRW (approximately £2800) from an unnamed "Mr. Kang".

BBoongBBoong is accused of receiving 5m KRW to throw a match in the SKT Proleague.

In total, YoDa was found to have thrown four matches across the Proleague and GSL, receiving 20m KRW (approximately £11,000) from the mysterious Mr. Kang. There was another payment of 10m KRW (£5700) from a Mr. Han. That's a total of around £17,000 for throwing four matches.

As a result of the investigation, the Korea e-Sports Association (KeSPA), has banned Gerrard and YoDa for life and permanently suspended their licenses.

"Since 2010, the association has worked alongside the rest of the industry to fight against the illegal betting that has continued to threaten the foundation of e-Sports," reads a statement translated by TeamLiquid.net.

"It is extremely regrettable that a related incident has occurred again, and we apologize to all of the fans who have shown e-Sports their love and support."

KeSPA threatened to ban any others found to be involved in the case - regardless of the result of a trial - and mentioned the possibility of suing for damages.

"Once again, we apologise for worrying all of the fans of Korean e-Sports and everyone who works tirelessly for the advancement of e-Sports."

Competitive StarCraft is big business in South Korea, with games televised and players achieving fame, sponsorship and sizeable prize money. Playing Blizzard's strategy game at the top level requires both tactical nous and physical fitness, with extremely fast reflexes needed to micro-manage units and input up to five actions every second.

The scandal comes less than a month before the release of StarCraft 2 expansion Legacy of the Void.

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About the Author
Wesley Yin-Poole avatar

Wesley Yin-Poole

Deputy Editorial Director

Wesley is deputy editorial director of ReedPop. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.

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