Lie detectors to be used in South Korean soccer

soccer ballSouth Korean soccer is turning to technology in an effort to stamp out corruption in the game.

Lie detector tests will have to be taken by any players accused of fixing matches following a scandal which has rocked the sport in the country.

According to a BBC report, the match-fixing scandal has so far seen 46 players and 11 gambling brokers face charges. It is alleged that at least fifteen matches that took place in 2010 saw players making deliberate errors in exchange for payments from the brokers. Punishments have so far included lifetime bans for ten players.

The introduction of the lie detector is one of a series of moves designed to rid the game of corruption. A polygraph machine detects and records subtle changes in a subject’s body in response to particular questions. If the subject is lying, their heartbeat and blood pressure will probably increase. They may even begin to sweat.

But one has to wonder about the accuracy of such tests; if you were wired up to a machine and made to answer questions on which your career depended, wouldn’t you sweat a bit, whether guilty or not?

Other measures designed to eradicate wrongdoing from the game include the doubling of players’ wages, the idea being that they’ll be less tempted to break the law for cash. Wages are notoriously low in the South Korean game, with salaries starting at around $11,000.

Anti-corruption seminars are also being introduced and will be compulsory for players to attend, with punishment meted out to those who fail to go along.

It’s not certain how often the polygraph machines will be called upon, though score an own goal in a game and the likelihood is that when the final whistle goes, the player in question will be marched to a quiet room, wired up and asked a number of searching questions such as, “Did you score that own goal on purpose?” Investigators will likely reach one of two conclusions: either the player is a liar, or simply a really bad soccer player.

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