The Korea Herald


K League opposed to holding Napoli-Mallorca exhibition on matchday

By Yonhap

Published : May 10, 2023 - 09:23

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Kim Min-jae of Napoli celebrates with fans after a 1-0 win over ACF Fiorentina at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Naples, Italy, on Sunday. (EPA) Kim Min-jae of Napoli celebrates with fans after a 1-0 win over ACF Fiorentina at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Naples, Italy, on Sunday. (EPA)

The South Korean professional football league said Wednesday it is opposed to holding a summer exhibition between the Italian champions Napoli and Spanish side RCD Mallorca on the same June matchday for its own clubs.

Organizers for the two-match series between Napoli, featuring South Korean defender Kim Min-jae, and Mallorca, with South Korean midfielder Lee Kang-in in the fold, had said Tuesday that they were looking to play the first game on June 8 in Seoul and the second one on June 10 in Goyang, just northwest of the capital city.

The application is pending approval by the Korea Football Association, the national governing body of the sport, and the KFA also needs consent from the Korea Professional Football League.

And with three matches in the top-flight K League 1 scheduled for June 10, the South Korean league said Wednesday it wouldn't want an overlapping non-league match on the same day.

"We haven't even received any request for approval," the league added. "But it'd be difficult for us to agree to the exhibition match on June 10 because we have our league matches on that day."

The exhibition organizers pointed out that Tottenham Hotspur and Sevilla FC played their exhibition in South Korea on July 16 last year when the K League 1 was also in action. But the league noted that the fixtures had been changed at the last minute because of a regional tournament, whereas this year's fixtures have been in place since the beginning of the season.

Kim and Lee are two of South Korea's most beloved football players.

Kim helped Napoli win their first Serie A title in 33 years this season, quickly establishing himself as the most formidable center back in the top Italian league in his first season there.

Lee, who rose to prominence as a teenage sensation for the runners-up South Korea at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, is in the midst of his most productive season in Spain with Mallorca. He has recorded a career-high six goals along with four assists.

Both players have been subject to endless transfer speculation and could switch clubs before next season.

There will be a few other European clubs playing offseason exhibitions in South Korea this summer.

Manchester City and Atletico Madrid will meet here in July. Also in July, the Scottish champions Celtic, with South Korean forward Oh Hyeon-gyu on the team, will go up against Wolverhampton Wanderers, the Premier League club featuring Korean attacker Hwang Hee-chan.

Another Italian club, AS Roma, will pay a visit to play the K League 1 club Incheon United and also Wolves. (Yonhap)