KBO to hold hearing on ‘WBC drinking controversy’ Kim Kwang-hyun, Lee Yong-chan, Jeong Chul-won…will discipline be handed down?

A penalty committee will be held for Kim Kwang-hyun (SSG Landers), Lee Yong-chan (NC Dinos), and Chung Chul-won (Doosan Bears), who were found to have consumed alcohol during the World Baseball Classic (WBC).

The KBO announced on June 6 that it will hold a penalty committee on July 7 at 11 a.m. behind closed doors for three players, Kim Kwang-hyun, Lee Yong-chan, and Chung Chul-won, in connection with the drinking controversy at the WBC. Players can attend if they wish to appear before the committee in person.

The controversy began on May 30 with reports from a YouTube channel and online media outlets. During the first round of the 2023 WBC in Japan in March, it was reported that some members of the national team had spent the night drinking at an entertainment venue. The KBO launched an investigation into the controversy the same day and received letters of explanation from the players.

Kim Kwang-hyun, Lee Yong-chan, and Jeong Chul-won revealed in their statements that they had been to the snack bar on March 7, a travel day, and March 10 안전놀이터, a rest day, the night of the game against Japan, but not the night before the game as reported by the media. On March 1, the three players admitted to drinking and apologized to fans. Kim Kwang-hyun was removed from the first team roster on the 1st and Lee Yong-chan and Jeong Chul-won were removed on the 2nd.

The KBO’s national team rules do not have a clear penalty for drinking alcohol. However, Article 9 [Obligations of Players] of the National Team Operating Regulations states, “2. Protect the honor and dignity of the national team during the call-up period and obey the control as a member of the team. In addition, Article 13 [Discipline] (3. c.) states that a disciplinary committee will be held if a player is deemed to have caused ‘social harm’.

The three players who have been removed from the first-team roster are likely to appear in front of the penalty committee and make their case. The KBO is expected to consider whether to discipline the three players based on the National Team Rules.

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