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[CARD NEWS: Opinion] The reality of the Korean sports industry

May 30,2017
Only a few days into the U-20 FIFA World Cup, Lee Seung-woo proved his status as the next Korean football star. However, criticisms are rising as to whether the Korean sports industry gives enough support to talented athletes such as Lee.


1) A football player Lee Seung-woo established his solid foothold as a super star player at the U-20 FIFA World Cup fields.

2) Even Diego Maradona, a legend footballer synonymous with “god of soccer,” lauded Lee.
“It’ll be painful for me to watch Lee taking an active role against my country.”

3) However, a new fact recently came to light that Catalan Football Federation has urged Lee to naturalize as a Spanish citizen.

4) Lee immediately declined the offers to naturalize.
“I’ve never thought of myself playing in the World Cup wearing some other country’s uniform.”

5) Though it is relieving that Lee is maintaining his status as a Korean citizen, the federation’s attempt to convince Lee proves that even soccer powerhouse Spain is putting in enormous effort to scout and develop foreign players.

6) When we look back at the past of Korean sports, however, a series of depressing incidents comes to mind.

7) Ahn Hyun-soo, also known as Victor Ahn, gave up his Korean citizenship in 2011 to become a naturalized Russian citizen. Before he renounced his Korean nationality, the infamous ice skater couldn’t fit himself into the factionalized sports union and was embroiled in controversy for disputing manipulated match results.

8) The legendary figure skating icon Kim Yuna also spent her own money on overseas off-season training with scant national support.

9) All the athletic leagues and associations in Korea give their interests and support to competent athletes, but those last no longer than the short moments of athletes winning gold medals. The associations’ will to support the athletes sounds anything but sincere.

10) As a matter of fact, Korea’s star athletes mostly belong to the following two categories - they trained themselves, or were developed by foreign countries that discovered their talent earlier than Korea did.

11) The sports association’s words do not match their actions at all. They say that they will discover rising stars, but they never put enough effort into fostering talented athletes.

12) The Korea Amateur Skating Union
“For national athletes to clinch the best results with superlative performance…”

Korea Football Association
- enhance competitiveness
- foster talented players
- create an upright, open administration
- expand the soccer industry
- create a new football culture

Several sports associations clearly state their goals of fostering talented players and enhancing sports performance.

13) Is the people’s hope for them to realize their goals only a dream?



Directed by Lee Jeong-bong
Designed by Cho Seong-jin
Translated by Son Min-young
Edited by James Constant



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