Korean football body to support community service of military-exempt players

By Yonhap
  • Published : Nov 7, 2018 - 13:39
  • Updated : Nov 7, 2018 - 13:39

South Korea's football governing body said Wednesday that it will roll out community service programs for players who are exempt from military service following a case of falsifying records.

The Korea Football Association said it will help players who are required to do community service after their military exemption so that it can prevent wrongdoing regarding national duties.

Able-bodied South Korean men are required to serve in the military for about two years. By law, all Olympic medal winners and Asian Games gold medalists are entitled to exemption in recognition of their contribution to the country's reputation and prestige.

South Korea`s Son Heung-min celebrates with Korean national flags after winning Japan during the soccer men`s gold medal match at the 2018 Asian Games in Bogor, Indonesia, Saturday, Sept. 1. South Korea won 2-1. (Yonhap)

But those who earn the exemption need to complete basic military training, which can take up to 60 days, as well as 544 hours of sports-related community service over 34 months. The law on community service was designated in July 2015.

However, South Korean defender Jang Hyun-soo, who earned military service exemption with a gold medal at the 2014 Asian Games, was recently caught fabricating his community service records. He was slapped with a lifetime ban from the national team by the KFA.

In order to prevent such misconduct, the KFA said it will come up with community service programs starting next year.

Those who received military service exemptions with a gold medal at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia this summer, including Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min, will likely be the first ones to experience the programs prepared by the KFA.

The KFA said it will provide community service opportunities that the players can serve as a group. The KFA added it will establish its own football clinic events in association with communities in need of help.

For individual programs, the KFA said it will cooperate with public institutions to expand community service opportunities to the players. The KFA said it is currently in talks with the Ministry of Justice, municipal governments and other youth football groups.

"We meted out a severe punishment on Jang, but that can't be the solution to all," KFA General Secretary Hong Myung-bo said. "We found that the players actually have difficulties finding places to do their community service. That's why we thought it's important to establish programs for them and link them with other organizations in need of help." (Yonhap)