What will happen to Park Yong-woo (29, Ulsan Hyundai), who suffered from the controversy over ‘racism’?
The Korean national soccer team,안전놀이터 led by coach Jurgen Klinsmann (58), will play a June A-match friendly against Peru at the Busan Asiad Stadium at 8:00 pm on the 16th. It is Klinsmann’s third official match following the match against Colombia and Uruguay in March.
Central midfielder Park Yong-woo is included in this roster and is a member of the national team for the first time in his life. Park Yong-woo, a member of the 2016 Rio Olympics, played a big role in Ulsan and caught the eye of coach Klinsman.
He predicted the possibility of participating. First, Jung Woo-young (33, Al Sadd), a fixture, could not be summoned due to surgery performed after the season ended. Also, Son Jun-ho (31, Shandong), who was on the list, could not join. Son Jun-ho was detained in China on charges of bribery on the 12th of last month. Coach Klinsman included them in the list with the meaning of cheering, but in the end, the convocation failed.
Naturally, new faces such as Park Yong-woo and Won Doo-jae, centered on Hwang In-beom, were expected to have opportunities.
However, Park Yong-woo was embroiled in a racial discrimination controversy on the day of the national team call. Park Yong-woo left a comment on his teammate’s social media, saying, “Sassal rock form is crazy.” Sasalak is a Thai player who played for Jeonbuk Hyundai in the past. Soccer fans harshly criticized Park Yong-woo and some of Ulsan’s players as they seemed to mock a certain skin color.
The situation escalated out of control. Park Yong-woo posted an apology on his SNS, saying, “I apologize to Sasalak and all fans and people around me who may have been hurt by my careless words and actions.” The club and even Ulsan coach Hong Myung-bo apologized for the incident and promised discipline and prevention of recurrence.
Director Klinsman also grasped the controversy. The Korea Football Association said, “Coach Klinsman is also aware of the problem.” Both the Korea Football Association and the Korea Professional Football Federation said, “We are going to check the circumstances of Ulsan.”
Racism is such a sensitive issue that there are now campaigns against it all over the world. Director Klinsman, who is aware of the situation, cannot take the matter lightly, and the plan to confirm new faces has also been disrupted.
In the official press conference held before the game, there was no special mention of Park Yong-woo. Coach Klinsman said, “I am looking forward to the game against Peru. I think it will be a similar game to Colombia. Peru will make us uncomfortable. I will prepare well so that I can play a good game.” Park Yong-woo was given number 5 in the number for the game against Peru, which was released by the Korea Football Association.
The selection list for the Peru match drew more attention due to the inability of Kim Min-jae and Kim Young-kwon to join, the conditioning of Son Heung-min, who underwent sports hernia surgery, and Park Yong-woo’s controversy over racial discrimination.