The National Assembly’s National Audit Committee, which deals with issues across the country, has brought up suspicions of backroom deals in baseball free agent (FA) contracts and the automatic ball-strike system (ABS) that the KBO League will introduce next year.The National Assembly’s Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee held a national audit of six organizations, including the Korea Baseball Organization and the Korea Sports Promotion Organization, on the 24th, and KBO President Heo Koo-yeon appeared as a witness. Representative Yoo Jung-joo of the Democratic Party of Korea asked Heo that, based on his announcement at a press conference the previous day, he had found a number of contracts for professional baseball teams’ free agent contracts that differed in content from those published by the KBO in its annual baseball yearbook, with a difference of as little as 50 million won to as much as 1.4 billion won, raising suspicions that the teams had taken back money.
In response, Heo said, “I was not aware of this,” but added, “Until 2018, players and clubs wrote their own contracts, and the KBO Secretariat published the contents of the contracts, but since 2019, we have been using a unified contract that also lists backroom agreements.” He added, “There were no backroom deals after reviewing the data,” and said, “If Rep. Yoo can provide me with the details, I will check further.”In response to Rep. Yoo’s question about his intention to investigate all FA contracts, Heo said, “I will look into whether the governor has the authority to do so,” but he also cited practical difficulties, saying, “The KBO secretariat does not have the authority to investigate suspicions of backroom deals.”
Lee Sang-heon, chairman of the Democratic Party of Korea’s Culture and Arts Committee, asked Park Jae-ho, editor-in-chief of Sports Chosun, for his expert opinion on ABS, and ordered Heo to establish a culture of fair umpiring, which he explained in detail to the lawmakers with a diagram he had prepared. The KBO secretariat announced on Nov. 19 that it will introduce ABS from next season to ensure fair play by improving reliability through 슬롯 precise and consistent judgment of strikes and balls.