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Soccer authorities may request resignation of Klinsmann: reports

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : Feb. 14, 2024 - 11:51

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Jurgen Klinsmann (Yonhap) Jurgen Klinsmann (Yonhap)

With the Korea Football Association slated to discuss the fate of men's national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann this week, local media outlets on Wednesday reported that the members of the South Korean soccer governing body have recommended its chief to request the beleaguered coach's resignation.

In a first KFA meeting convened since South Korea's disappointing semifinal exit at the Asian Cup 2023, its executives have agreed that Klinsmann should be removed from his post, according to a report by local YTN. The broadcaster quoted Lee Seok-jae, a vice president of the country's highest soccer authority.

Lee reportedly relayed the results of the closed-door meeting to KFA president Chung Mong-gyu, who for the first time this year, did not attend an executive meeting. Chung told him that there needs to be "a justification" for Klinsmann's removal, according to reports.

Another media outlet reported that the KFA already has a plan B for when and if Klinsmann resigns.

South Korean public has been demanding the KFA to fire Klinsmann after the team's sub-par performance during Asia's top continental tournament in Qatar. The national team struggled throughout the tournament against lower-ranked teams in FIFA, sparking criticism over the coach's lack of tactical actions and his supposed lack of commitment.

A civic group filed a complaint to the police against the KFA chief Chung for his alleged unilateral appointment of the national team head coach, which supposedly constitutes a crime of interference with the business of the KFA.

Even some politicians joined in by requesting the KFA to address the fans' complaints, including Daegu Mayor Hong Joon-pyo, who said Chung should terminate the contract with Klinsmann.

Klinsmann, considered among Germany's best offensive players in his playing days, is among the most high-profile head coaches South Korea has ever had. He was among the highest paid coaches in the Asian Cup, which makes his termination strenuous for the KFA from financial standpoint.

The budget for the South Korean soccer federation in 2023 was its all-time high of 158.1 billion won ($118.2 million). If the KFA fires Klinsmann, the buyout fee for the coach is presumed to be as high as somewhere in the 7-billion-won range. The coach's salary is reported to be around $2 million, and is under contract for another two years and five months.