South Korean soccer’s first-ever racial discrimination punishment was a slap on the wrist. 바카라It was a matter of zero tolerance globally and unprecedented in Korea, so severe discipline was possible, but the KFA set a “precedent” that racial discrimination is only lightly punished.
On the 22nd, the KFA held a punishment committee at the Shinmunro Football Hall in Seoul and handed down a one-game suspension and 15 million won in sanctions to Park Yong-woo (30), Lee Myung-jae (30), and Lee Kyu-sung (29) of Ulsan Hyundai for making racist remarks on social media (SNS). It also fined the Ulsan club 30 million won for the team manager’s behavior and responsibility for managing the team. Only Jeong Seung-hyun (29), who did not make any racist remarks, escaped punishment.
As this is the first time in 40 years since the inception of the K League that a penalty committee has been held for racial discrimination, much attention has been paid to the level of discipline. In particular, the league’s punishment code stipulates a suspension of more than 10 games and a fine of more than 10 million won for racist behavior, so severe punishment was expected.
In reality, the league’s punishment committee imposed a fine of 15 million won on the players in question, which was 5 million won more than the standard for sanctions. However, the number of suspensions was reduced to just one game, which is a huge difference from the rule that prohibits players from playing for “more than 10 games. This is the main reason why the players who committed the racial slurs were given a “cotton-batting” punishment.
The federation explained that the punishment was less than what it should have been because “only one of the criteria for a suspension and a fine has to be met.” This means that a player who engages in racist behavior can be suspended for 10 games or more, or fined more than 10 million won. With a fine of $15 million, it’s safe to say that the number of suspensions will be lower.
In addition, the fact that the racist behavior was not directly directed at the opponent on the field, but on social media, and the fact that there was no precedent to refer to because it was the first racism penalty committee in history, were the reasons why the penalty committee drastically lowered the level of discipline. In the end, the penalty committee decided to suspend the Ulsan players for one game and fine them 15 million won based on how much discipline was given overseas for racist behavior on social media.
The problem is that even according to the league’s rules, racism is a serious enough issue to warrant a higher level of discipline than violent behavior or unsportsmanlike conduct towards spectators. It is one of the most sensitive issues in the world, and it has already been reported in Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries, leading to international embarrassment. There was a lot of interest from the soccer community and the public in this case, as it was necessary to come up with a convincing punishment for the unprecedented situation in Korean soccer.
However, the KFA’s penalty committee made a decision that left many scratching their heads. The lack of precedent meant that it was possible to impose harsh discipline within the rules, but the lack of precedent led to a slap on the wrist. It’s a paradoxical situation that Korean soccer, which has been outraged by opponent racism, is actually tolerant of internal racism. The K League could have, and should have, shown that it is very strict on racism, but instead it simply followed the disciplinary standards of overseas leagues.
The bigger problem is that this punishment sets a precedent for the future. It shouldn’t have happened, but if a similar controversy arises in the future and a racism penalty is opened up, the level of this slap on the wrist will now be the benchmark. It’s a bittersweet benchmark for a punishment that was never severe enough. This is why there is a lot of criticism about the level of discipline.
Earlier, Ulsan players and the club’s team manager made racist comments on a social media (SNS) post by Lee Myung-jae on Nov. 11. While teasing each other about Lee Myung-jae’s dark skin color, they made racist comments such as referring to the “Southeast Asian quarter” and referring to the real name of Thai player Sasalak Hyprakorn (Buriram United), who previously played for Jeonbuk Hyundai.
It was an overtly racist conversation that had a huge impact. It even led to international embarrassment as several media outlets reported the story in Thailand. As the controversy grew, Lee deleted his social media posts and blocked comments. Park Yong-woo, Lee Kyu-sung, and others posted apologies, but they were in Korean and not for Sasalak.
Park Yong-woo, along with the players, appeared before the penalty committee for an hour and said, “I’m really reflecting and regretting a lot. I will be careful with my words and be careful so that this does not happen again. I’m sorry,” and bowed his head. As the federation’s disciplinary level is lower than expected, it is expected to have an impact on Ulsan’s own disciplinary level and the Korean Football Association’s (KFA) discipline in the future.