Lee Sang-min (23, Seongnam FC), who received severe punishment for hiding the fact after being caught by the police for drinking and driving, was named to the Asian Games national team list. Controversy seems inevitable over whether the player who caused social controversy is really qualified to compete in international competitions wearing the Taegeuk mark.
Lee Sang-min, born in 1999, was named on the list of 22 Hangzhou Asian Games under-24 (U-24) national soccer team announced by coach Hwang Seon-hong on the 14th. Lee Sang-min has steadily raised his name since the launch of Hwang Seon-hong, and eventually got a chance to participate in the Asian Games through fierce competition. Under coach Hwang Seon-hong, the record for appearances is 6 matches and 1 goal.
However, after the announcement of the final list for the Asian Games, as Lee Sang-min’s power rose to the surface again, controversy arose over the appropriateness of participating in the Asian Games. In 2020, when Lee Sang-min belonged to Asan, Chungcheongnam-do, he was caught in a police crackdown while driving while intoxicated. He should be criticized for drunk driving alone, but he did not immediately notify the club, secretly played in three games, and later informed the club, causing controversy over the cover-up.
The Professional Football Federation, which was reported by the club, held a reward and punishment committee at the time and imposed a suspension of 15 games and a penalty of 4 million won on Lee Sang-min. At the time, Lee Sang-min was transferred on loan to Asan, Chungcheongnam-do right after joining Ulsan Hyundai, and it was the first season of his professional debut. In the end, his K-League 2 appearance record in the first season was all 4 games.
The following year, after the Chungnam Asan club fully recruited him, the fact that there was a fierce controversy around the local community meant that Lee Sang-min’s drunk driving and cover-up history was such a serious problem. At the time, the Chungnam Asan club even held an unusual press conference to explain the strong criticism. At the time, the club explained that they recruited Lee Sang-min because he had received all the discipline from the federation and showed self-reflection such as voluntary community service. Nevertheless, the controversy continued, with supporters boycotting Lee Sang-min’s support.
Even in this situation, Lee Sang-min continued to be moderated by his team, and coach Hwang also called him from the 2021 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23스포츠토토 Asian Cup qualifiers and used him as a key defender. Furthermore, as he boarded the Asian Games national team list, he was given the opportunity to receive the benefits of ‘special military service’ in some cases.
However, controversy has become inevitable as to whether it is appropriate for a player who has already tried to cover up drunk driving as well as participate in the Asian Games. Moreover, the Asian Games are competitions by age, so most players can only compete once, and most of the players cannot even participate. It is a more sensitive issue for athletes who have not been able to resolve their military service. In the midst of controversy over the background of the elimination of several players who have not been listed in the final list, it is inevitable to point out that it is not appropriate for a socially controversial player to wear the Taegeuk mark instead.
In the first place, it is pointed out that from the time of Hwang Seon-Hong’s first boarding in 2021, it was in violation of the Korea Football Association (KFA) regulations. KFA National Soccer Team Operating Regulations Article 17 Disciplinary and disqualifying reasons include: 3 years after the sentence is finalized when a fine of 5 million won or more is imposed for acts related to drunk driving, and 2 years after a fine of less than 5 million won. there is supposed to be no It was on May 21, 2020 that Lee Sang-min was caught drunk driving, and it was on October 25, 2021 that he played his first match with Hwang Seon-hong wearing a Taegeuk mark. If there is no clear explanation at the KFA level, it could lead to another controversy.
In particular, this issue is even more serious because it can even plant the perception that it is possible to participate in international competitions wearing the Taegeuk mark even if you drink and drive. Moreover, it can be set as a precedent that even if you hide the fact of drunk driving, you can become a national representative. In a situation where drunk driving is already being criticized as a very serious social problem, coach Hwang Seon-hong’s selection of players and KFA’s neglect of it seems to have caused serious controversy. The anger of football fans is boiling.