SEOUL — A South Korean footballer has been detained by Chinese police in relation to a bribery case, Korean media report.
Son Jun-Ho, 31, who plays for the national side and in the Chinese Super League, was detained at a Shanghai airport on Friday, the outlets said.
Neither South Korean or Chinese officials have commented on the matter.
But Seoul’s diplomats are seeking contact with Mr Son and further details on his case, said Yonhap News Agency citing sources.
South Korean diplomats will meet with Mr Son “to figure out exactly what kind of charges” he is being investigated for, Yonhap reported.
He is under police custody in Liaoning province in the northeast, reported Reuters, citing an unnamed diplomatic source.
When asked for details on Son’s case at a regular press conference on Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said he was not aware of the case.
But reports of Mr Son’s detention come amid a concerted push by Chinese authorities to crackdown on corruption and match-fixing in Chinese football.
China has arrested at least four football officials in the past three months for alleged wrongdoing.
Son moved to China’s Shandong province in 2021 where he played as midfielder for Shandong Taishan. The club won the Chinese Football League – the highest tier of professional football in China – that year.
He also plays for South Korea’s national team and has played 20 international matches for his home country, including in the Fifa World Cup last year.
Chinese football has long been engulfed in allegations of bribery and match-fixing. Recent detentions of major football figures have dealt another setback to the country’s football ambitions.
In February, just as stadiums started to reopen from Covid lockdowns, the president of the Chinese Football Association Chen Xuyuan was detained for suspected “serious violations of discipline and the law”.
Chen’s arrest was the fourth known instance of a senior football official to be investigated in less than three months.
Match-fixing has also sparked controversy in South Korean football recently. Last month, the entire executive board of Korea’s Football Association resigned after attempting to pardon some 100 people who were banned from the sport due to match-fixing and other offences. BBC