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 South Korean told to miss soccer medal ceremony

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مُساهمةموضوع: South Korean told to miss soccer medal ceremony   11.08.12 23:18

A South Korean soccer player, who was photographed apparently
carrying a political message about a territorial dispute with Japan
after their Olympic bronze play off, adhered to official advice on
Saturday and stayed away from the medal ceremony.
Midfielder Park Jong-woo was due to have picked up a bronze medal
during a ceremony at Wembley, but he could not be seen on the podium
alongside his teammates, and his name was not announced over the public
address system.

The 23-year-old midfielder had been pictured the day before seeming
to hold up a sign which read "Dokdo is our territory" following his
team's 2-0 victory over Asian rivals Japan.

The incident risked inflaming an already tense political situation
between the two countries over the islands which are known as Takeshima
in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea, and which lie equidistant from the
two nations.

On Saturday, Japan said it would take the territorial dispute to the
International Court of Justice, after South Korean President Lee
Myung-bak made a surprise visit to the islands this week.

After the visit, Japan recalled its ambassador to South Korea.

"We have opened an inquiry and have asked the NOC (National Olympic
Committee) of the Republic of Korea for an explanation," the
International Olympic Committee said in a statement on Saturday.

It called on South Korea's National Olympic Committee to take swift action and had urged the player not to attend the ceremony.

FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against him, who has until
August 16 to respond, the international soccer governing body said in a
statement.



NO POLITICS

South Korean NOC chief of staff John Moon told Reuters before the
ceremony: "We just heard about what happened yesterday, we are looking
into this incident but we are taking it very seriously.

"According to the IOC rules politics has no place in sport."

An official for the Japanese NOC said he was unaware of the incident.

It is believed the sign was shown long after the game had finished, in which South Korea won their first Olympic soccer medal.

The photographs swiftly spread on Twitter after being published by a Korean news agency.

Played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in front of 56,000 sports
fans, it had been a fiercely contested match during which seven yellow
cards were shown, four for the Koreans and three for Japan.

The disputed islands are believed to contain frozen natural gas deposits potentially worth billions of dollars.

Lee became the first South Korean leader to make the trip to the
islands, which have been a persistent irritant in relations between the
two countries.

Officials in South Korea said Friday's visit was meant to highlight
the islands' importance as a natural reserve and was not aimed at
stirring up trouble.
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South Korean told to miss soccer medal ceremony

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