Newsdesk - Lifetime Bans for Korean Players; Nigeria, S.Africa Face Must-win Olympic Qualifiers

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Kim Jung-kyum (right) of the Pohang Steelers received a five-year ban for betting on his own team's game. (Getty Images)
(WFI) South Korea’s top football league is slapping 10 players with lifetime bans for their roles in match-fixing schemes.

“We made the decision, determined that this would be the first and the last match-fixing scandal in the league," K-League disciplinary head Kwak Young-Cheol was quoted Friday by AFP.

“Players must keep in mind that they will be kicked out of the sport permanently if they get caught committing wrongdoing."

The penalties, the toughest in the K-League’s 28 years of operation, follow charges filed by state prosecutors in Changwon.

An 11th player was charged but received only a five-year suspension.

The Korea Football Association has also been asked to ban the players from ever receiving any football-related jobs.

Eight of the 11 were from 2001 Korean FA Cup champs Daejeon Citizen.

A member of the Pohang Steelers is also charged with betting on his own team’s game following a tip from an opposing player.

The clubs will lose a portion of their shares of a national sports lottery as punishment for their involvement. Gwangju FC and Sangju Sangmu Phoenix are the other sides to have players banned.

Slim Olympic Hopes for Nigeria, South Africa
Nigeria and South Africa's hopes of reaching the London 2012 Olympics are hanging by a thread ahead of their must-win qualifying games this weekend.
Bafana Bafana still have a shot at the London Olympics. (Getty Images)

South Africa faces the biggest task after losing 3-1 in the first leg of their qualifier against Benin, though Bafana Bafana were missing key players Thulani Hlatswayo, Thulani Serero and Andile Jali. Two clear goals in Rustenburg on Saturday would be enough to send the South Africans through to the next round.

Coach Shakes Mashaba believes that playing on home soil will definitely benefit the team’s chances of progressing.

“The dream of qualifying for the London Olympics is very much alive and we just need the support of all South Africans in the campaign,” he said.

“We have the home advantage with the crowd behind us, and that should help the players to be more determined to reverse the scoreline.”

Nigeria must also overturn a deficit when the country face Tanzania in Benin City on Saturday, trailing 1-0 from the first leg. Nigeria must do so without key players after AC Milan winger Nnamdi Oduamadi limped out of training on Monday, joining striker Ahmed Musa and midfielder Rabiu Ibrahim on the sidelines.

Coach Austin Egoaven is still willing his players on to progress and reach the Olympics, where they have previously enjoyed success, having won gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

They were runners-up at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“We understand the importance of this return leg and we are leaving nothing to chance. Nigerians believe so much in this team and we must not let them down,” Eguavoen said.

Algeria will be expected to progress after notching an impressive 3-0 victory in the first leg against Zambia, who they face in Lusaka on Saturday, while Ivory Coast should overcome opponents Congo once again and go through to the final round.

The DR Congo team is also in trouble as it hosts Morocco in Kinshasa with the visitors carrying over a 2-1 lead from the previous match in Rabat. The six teams in the three remaining fixtures have all yet to score, so the final round is equally attainable in the matches between Mali and Gabon, Senegal and Tunisia, and Egypt and Sudan.

Burnley FC to Produce Football Business Graduates

Burnley FC will open the first football business university in the UK in September, offering honours degrees in football business management in conjunction with Bucks New University.

The $3.2 million University & College of Football Business (UCFB) is already expected to have 100 students making up the first year's intake, participating in seminars and lectures at Turf Moor's Jimmy McIlroy stand.

Burnley FC board adviser and former Downing Street spokesman Alastair Campbell told the BBC that the university would produce graduates with sound financial sense, a well-valued commodity considering UEFA’s new financial fair play regulations.

"If you think about the number of people who follow football clubs and say the whole thing is mis-managed, but actually the reason for that is because people see football purely as entertainment rather than as a business,” he said.

"I think that people will come here to learn about the football industry, but maybe over time the football industry will learn from them.”

The university will offer three-year courses that will combine football business with aspects of media, marketing and finance.

By INSIDER's Matthew Grayson and Christian Radnedge

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