중앙데일리

[EDITORIALS]One Year to Go - Korea's Tasks

May 29,2001
The 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup is just a year away. There must not be even a small failure in preparing for it since it is an international event that will draw the attention of the whole world during 31 days, from the opening ceremony on May 31 next year in Seoul to the final match in Japan in late June.

We have a hunch that the event will end in success, seeing the soccer stadiums that have recently opened in Ulsan, Suwon and Taegu. Through the 1988 Seoul Olympics, we have already showed off our national strength and public awareness to the world.

At that time, many people worried before the event began about the quality of the preparations, but we were praised at the end for the best Olympics until then in history. Many critics said that we were able to improve our public culture and inform the world about our country through the Olympics.

However, the World Cup is different from the Olympics in many ways. For example, the number of athletes who will visit the country for the soccer games is more than 500,000, or five times as many as Olympic athletes. In addition to solving the problems of lodging and other convenience facilities, we should take special care in security. Although the local police have organized special teams to deal with hooligans, we should still be very careful in preparing for any unforeseen incidents involving crazy soccer fans.

We should also keep in mind that the event will be held jointly with Japan. It is the first time that more than one country has organized the World Cup, and they will be compared against each other for everything they do.

Equipping ourselves with mature public awareness, we must not receive some criticism that Korea has fallen behind Japan. We should think hard together over how to spend the remaining one year to improve every sector of life - such as politics, economy, culture and sports, among others.

Also, the 2002 World Cup should not be a party of only foreign countries. In short, it should be a stepping-stone for the development of our soccer team which has never even won a game in World Cup history. The team should do their best, under the direction of Gus Hiddink, to get into the semi- or quarterfinals and revitalize Korean society and the people who are suffering from Korea's financial slowdown.



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