SPORTS

Natl. football coach to enact social media ban during World Cup

By Yonhap
  • Published : May 2, 2018 - 16:37
  • Updated : May 2, 2018 - 16:37

South Korean men's national football head coach Shin Tae-yong has enough trust in his players that banning smartphones entirely during the upcoming FIFA World Cup will not be necessary.

But the bench boss does plan to attach one condition to their phone use: no social media.

During a press conference at the Korea Football Association headquarters in Seoul on Wednesday, Shin said he has "never once thought about banning cell phones" because his players are "all grown-ups."

South Korean men`s national football head coach Shin Tae-yong listens to a question during a press conference at the Korea Football Association headquarters in Seoul on May 2, 2018. (Yonhap)

It was Shin's response to a question on whether he'd follow the example of the South Korean women's curling team at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in February. The curlers voluntarily handed in their smartphones to stay focused on the Olympics, and went on to capture a surprise silver medal.

Shin said the curlers and his World Cup players are in vastly different situations.

"I don't think the curling team did well just because the athletes didn't have their phones," Shin said. "They had the benefit of competing at home, and had a lot of other things to do during their downtime. Our players will be on the road for quite a while. They're going to have to find ways to wind down and stay sharp in between matches. They probably love their phones more than their coach anyway."

South Korea will depart for Austria to set up their pre-World Cup camp on June 3, and their last Group F match against Germany will be June 27.

Shin didn't say getting on social media would be a waste of time -- as Sir Alex Ferguson once said -- but he still would like to see his players stay off those sites and any unnecessary trouble that can be created by some off-hand comments.

There have been some high-profile controversies stemming from social media comments by national team football stars, including midfielder Ki Sung-yueng and goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong.

For the 2014 World Cup, then head coach Hong Myung-bo also imposed a social media ban. (Yonhap)