Scandal rocks South Korean soccer

S Korean officials are investigating revelations that four senior players were involved in visiting prostitutes ahead of Asian Cup match.

updated: November 01, 2007 09:29 IST
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South Korea:

South Korean soccer officials are investigating revelations that four senior players, including captain Lee Woon-jae and Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-guk, were involved in drinking and visiting prostitutes ahead of an important Asian Cup match in July.

Seoul-based news Web site Newsis reported that Lee Woon-jae, Kim Sang-sik, Woo Sung-yong and Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-guk drank until the early hours of July 14 at a brothel in Jakarta, where the national team was based.

On July 15, South Korea suffered an upset, 2-1 loss to Bahrain in the Indonesian capital to drop to the bottom of Group D, jeopardizing its Asian Cup campaign.

The players visited the brothel again on the evening of July 16, the Newsis report said.

Three of the players started in the shock defeat at Jakarta, with Woo making a second half substitute appearance.

South Korea captain Lee Woon-jae made a tearful apology on Tuesday at a press conference with Woo at Korean Football Association headquarters.

"I am so sorry," Lee said. "As captain, it is my responsibility, the other players did nothing wrong. I will accept any punishment that comes my way."

The KFA will investigate the matter ahead of taking action against the players involved, it said in an a public apology posted on its Web site.

"We would like to say very sorry to the fans," the statement read. "We will investigate further to discover the facts and will then take appropriate action."

Lee Dong-guk, who signed for Premier League club Middlesbrough in January, and Kim Sang-sik have yet to make any statement to the press.

South Korea reached the semifinal of the competition, losing to Iraq on penalties.