Ex-K Leaguer joins Belgian club owned by S. Korean firm

By 정주원
  • Published : Aug 29, 2014 - 10:54
  • Updated : Aug 29, 2014 - 10:54
A Belgian professional football club recently purchased by a South Korean marketing firm has signed its first player from the Asian country, officials said Friday.

Sportizen, a Seoul-based sports marketing agency that recently acquired A.F.C. Tubize, said the second-division Belgian club has signed midfielder Hwang Jin-sung to a one-year contract.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Sportizen said Hwang could make his Belgian debut at home on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Sportizen announced its acquisition of A.F.C. Tubize and claimed it was the first South Korean firm to take over a European pro football club. The company also said it planned to acquire some South Korean players before the summer transfer window in European football closes at the end of August.

Hwang, who played for Pohang Steelers in South Korea's first-division K League Classic last season, traveled to Belgium earlier this week to undergo his physical.

The 30-year-old made his professional debut with Pohang in 2003 and spent his entire 11-year career with the same club. He had knee surgery last fall and Pohang declined to re-sign him when Hwang became a free agent before this season.

"I wanted to extend my career, and I needed a new challenge," Hwang said. "I was impressed with A.F.C. Tubize and their sincerity. I am doing much better physically after rehabbing from my injury, and the key is to make quick adjustments to the new setting."

Sources said Hwang, who had six goals in 22 matches in 2013, also drew interest from Middle Eastern and Chinese clubs, before settling on A.F.C. Tubize.

Located in the city of Tubize, about 25 kilometers south of the Belgian capital of Brussels, A.F.C Tubize was founded in 1989 when two clubs, FC Tubize and Amis Reunis de Tubize, merged. The club has mostly played in the second division and last played in the first division in the 2008-2009 season. (Yonhap)